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Axiomathes (2007) 17:155183 DOI 10.

1007/s10516-007-9016-x O R I G I NA L P AP E R

The Myth of Reductive Extensionalism


Itay Shani

Received: 7 March 2007 / Accepted: 7 August 2007 / Published online: 1 September 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Abstract Extensionalism, as I understand it here, is the view that physical reality consists exclusively of extensional entities. On this view, intensional entitities must either be eliminated in favor of an ontology of extensional entities, or be reduced to such an ontology, or otherwise be admitted as non-physical. In this paper I argue that extensionalism is a misguided philosophical doctrine. First, I argue that intensional phenomena are not conWned to the realm of language and thought. Rather, the ontology of such phenomena is intimately entwined with the ontology of properties. After providing some evidence to the popularity of extensionalism in contemporary analytic philosophy, I investigate the motivating reasons behind it. Considering several explanations, I argue that the main motivating reason is rooted in the identiWcation of matter with extension, an identiWcation which is one of the hallmarks of the mechanistic conception of nature inherited from the founding fathers of our modern scientiWc outlook. I then argue that such a conception is not only at odds with a robust ontology of properties but is also at odds with our best contemporary physics. Rather than vindicating extensionalism contemporary science undermines the position, and the lesson to be drawn from this surprising fact is that extensionalism needs no longer be espoused as a regulative ideal of naturalistic philosophy. I conclude by showing that the ontological approach to intensional phenomena advocated throughout the paper also gains support from an examination of the historical context within which intension was Wrst introduced as a semantic notion. Keywords Extensional entities Extensionalism Intensional entities Mechanistic philosophy Modes Naturalism Properties and one part of the thing is matter and the other form Aristotle, Metaphysics VII, 8

I. Shani (&) Department of Philosophy, School of Social Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, Wits, Johannesburg, 2050, South Africa e-mail: shanii@social.wits.ac.za

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1 Introduction One of the most well-entrenched metaphysical presumptions of modern western philosophy is the belief that, deep down, nature is exclusively extensional and, hence, that intensional entities, whatever they may be, cannot be considered rightful citizens of physical reality properly understood. It is this presumption, I argue below, which motivated the quest for a purely extensional scientiWc language in the heyday of early analytic philosophy and of logical positivism, and which, to date, continues to motivate ambitious attempts to reduce intensional discourse to extensional theoretical vocabulary. Notably, this very selfsame presumption is also reXected in the widely held belief that the intensional character of mental states, as manifested, for example, in the phenomenon of seeing (hearing, smelling, etc.) as, depends on the manifestation of non-physical properties (see e.g., Fodor and Pylyshyn 1981), from which it follows that physical systems, qua physical systems, are strictly extensional. It is, in short, due to this presumption that we feel justiWed in maintaining that the intensional realm is conWned to language and thought, while the world at which language and thought are directed, and which they strive to comprehend, describe, and transform, is uncontestedly extensional.1 Yet, despite the entrenchment of this presumption, despite its establishment as an uncontested dogma, we have every reason to view it with suspicion. An inquiry into the very nature of the distinction between intension and extension, and into the metaphysical foundations of the bias towards an extensionalist ontology, reveals, I submit, that in the present theoretical context we have every reason to consider such a bias obsolete and unfounded. We are neither justiWed in assuming that intensional phenomena are limited to the conWnes of language and thought, nor in holding that physical reality is, at its core, exclusively extensional. The bias towards extensionalist ontology has long been a deWnitive mark of naturalism, yet it is on naturalistic grounds, I argue, that it ought to be abolished. In Sect. 2 I discuss the standard contemporary approach to intensional phenomena. While technically developed, I argue that the standard view is ontologically underdeveloped. In particular, I argue that it does not explain, nor even address, important questions such as what makes the variety of intensional phenomena intensional in the Wrst place (apart from the trivial fact that they all violate the extensionality principle), or which intensional phenomena are ontologically more basic (in the sense that the intensional character of most, or all, other intensional phenomena is derivative from their own intensional character). In Sect. 3 I respond to this challenge by identifying properties as the quintessential intensional entities. All other intensional entitiesconcepts, propositions, and so onare intensional in virtue of their relations to properties. While the discussion in Sect. 3 points in the direction of an ontologically embedded approach to the riddle of intensional phenomena there are strong philosophical persuasions against such an approach. In Sect. 4 I review some of the most prominent examples demonstrating the bias of modern analytic philosophy towards radical extensionalism and the overwhelming tendency to either eliminate intensional phenomena, or reduce them to

There are, of course, exceptions to this metaphysical bias. For example, Turvey et al. (1981) resist the tendency to delimit intensions to the noetic realm of language and thought and go some way in their attempt to allocate intensions in physical reality. More generally, the extensionalist bias that occupies us here tends to dissolve in a process-based metaphysics. However, these are exceptions and their heterodox character only attests to the grip of extensionalism on mainstream philosophical thought.

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acceptable extensionalist ontology, or to conWne them to an isolated non-physical realm. I touch on the views of Carnap, Quine, Lewis, and of non-reductive physicalism. Section 5 addresses the metaphysical foundations of this extensionalist bias. In particular, I consider some of the principal reasons behind the tendency to endorse a nominalist, object-centered ontology while denying properties an equal ontological footing. I begin by considering Quines contention that properties cannot be properly individuated; I argue that this charge is, at best, inconclusive. A more signiWcant motivating reason behind the extensionalist bias is the view that, being universals, properties are too spooky to be taken as primitive constituents of physical reality. I argue that the view that properties are universals, let alone ante rem universals, is by no means compulsory. In particular, I suggest that a modes conception of properties, according to which properties are concrete aspects of concrete individuals, oVers an attractive alternative to the extremes of both nominalism and Platonism. The most signiWcant single factor behind the extensionalist bias, however, is traced to the mechanistic legacy of the 17th century scientiWc revolution and, in particular, to the reduction of matter to a purely extensive substancea res extensa. In Sect. 6 I argue that once the notion that properties are concrete modes is systematically pursued it becomes evident that there are categorical ontic diVerences between properties and objects, diVerences that not only explain why properties are intensional but also indicate in unequivocal terms that the quest of reducing properties to an object-based ontology is ill advised. The discussion in this section also points at the existence of an intrinsic connection between properties (understood as concrete modes) and dynamic patterns of organization, patterns that, in many ways, are not unlike the immanent forms of scholastic philosophy that fell into disrepute with the advent of the mechanistic worldview. The most persuasive argument against the irreducible reality of such immanent forms, and thereby also against the irreducible reality of quintessentially intensional entities, is based on the view that in the Wnal analysis such forms must be reduced to formless particlesthe elementary building blocks of nature. Yet, in Sect. 7, I argue that, rather than making good of such a reduction, contemporary theoretical physics severely undermines it. Relativity theory, quantum mechanics, quantum Weld theory, and string theory show a steady alienation from the atomistic notion of a world constituted of formless elementary building blocks while persistently aYrming the irreducible reality of dynamic patterns of organization. In short, the driving motivation behind reductive extensionalism, its apparent consonance with a robust scientiWcally oriented worldview, is undermined by science itself. Finally, I show that the connection between the semantic notion of intension and the metaphysical notions form and quality is not only conceptually compelling (as argued throughout the paper) but also historically grounded. Examining the original context in which the term intension was introduced as a semantic category revealingly shows that the term was borrowed from an earlier usage in the medieval doctrine of the intension and remission of forms, where it was deeply entwined with the notions of quality and form.

2 Intensional Phenomena: The Standard Picture The bias in favor of the view that physical reality, as such, is exclusively extensional is implicit in our entire philosophical tradition of approaching intensional phenomena. To appreciate this we need only observe that the terms intension and intensionality are commonly associated with noetic entities: ideas or concepts in the case of intension, sentences or propositions in the case of intensionality. Thus intensional phenomena, those phenomena which are the loci of intensions, or which manifest intensionality, are

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commonly thought of as either features of mental processes, or linguistic features, or, perhaps, abstract logical features. What complements this familiar picture is the presumption that in contrast to this intensional realm there is another realm, to which we may refer as the world, or nature, or physical reality. The latter is a realm of things, hence of extensional entities, in which intensional phenomena has no foothold. While intensional phenomena are thought to be about this extensional realm (when they are not about other intensional phenomena, see the discussion of intensionality below), and while on any reasonably naturalistic account of mind and its place in nature they are also, in some sense, part of it,2 intensional phenomena are not considered constitutive of this physical realm per se. While mind and language may well be intensional, nature, the idea goes, ultimately is not. Given this sweeping relegation of intensional phenomena to the noetic realm of language and thought it seems almost preposterous to suggest that we are missing something important by doing so; yet, this is precisely what I am about to argue. In order to lay the ground for the argument, however, we must consider Wrst the relevant notions of intension, intensionality, and intensional entities. As we shall see, the cognitive abodes of intensions, and those cognitive entities that manifest intensionality, belong to a broader class of intensional entities of which cognitive phenomena are but a proper subset. Thus, even within the standard picture of intensional phenomena, the restriction of all things intensional to the conWnes of language and thought is rather problematic. 2.1 Intension and Extension We nowadays speak of intensionality, intensional entities, intensional logics and so on, but we shall do well to begin with the much older notion of intension. The traditional philosophical distinction between intension and extension can be traced back to 17th century logical theory.3 In their famous book Logic, or the Art of Thinking (see Arnauldt 1662), the Port Royalists Arnauld and Nicole distinguished between the comprehension of an idea and its extension. Employing the same distinction later on in the century it was Leibniz (1690) who substituted intension for comprehension, thereby creating an

By claiming that on any reasonably naturalistic account of mind and its place in nature intensional phenomena must, in some sense, be an integral part of nature the intensional phenomena I have in mind are concrete cognitive and linguistic structures. By contrast, abstract entities, for example Fregean thoughts, cannot be considered as partaking in physical reality and, on account of that, ought not to be literally endorsed by naturalists (by contrast, the capacity to construct and to grasp abstractions is, of course, fairly compatible with naturalism).

3 Doubtless, some readers will be inclined to resist this assertion, arguing that the distinction can be traced further back to medieval philosophy if not to Aristotle himself. While I have no pretensions of being an authority on such matters, I found little evidence to support it. Aristotles categories are general types of predication (highest genera, according to some interpretations), and nowhere in the Topics (1987d), or the Categories (1987a), do we Wnd clear evidence that he understood them to be anything like the early-modern notion of intensionthe collection of attributes implied by an idea. The medieval notion intentio, rendered as a translation of the terms mana and maqul which were used in medieval Arabic interpretations of Aristotle, stands, roughly, for a sign in the soul or for whatever it is which stands before the mind in thought (Kneale and Kneale 1962, p. 229; Crane 2000). As such, it can no more be considered a precursor of intension than of intentionality. Perhaps the closest we get to genuine precursors of intension and extension are the notions of signiWcatio and suppositio (respectively) as used in the medieval theory of the properties of terms. Yet, even here the analogy is far from perfect (see Ashworth 2006; Read 2006). Finally, the term intension was, indeed, used during the middle ages but in a diVerent context, namely, in discussions concerning the intension and remission of forms (see Sect. 8).

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elegant terminological antithesis to extension accurately representing the contrast between the two concepts. On this view both extension and intension pertain to ideas. The extension of an idea is the class of things over which it extendsthe class of individuals that fall under it, or to which it applieswhile intension is identiWed with the attributes implied by, or contained in, the idea. For example, the extension of triangle consists of all triangles, while the intension of the term consists of attributes such as Wgure, three lines, three angles, the equality of these three angles to two right angles, and so on. Clearly this early modern distinction already implies the dichotomy that concerns us: extension is associated with external reality whereas intension is associated with the inner recesses of the mind. Surely this has been the common way of understanding the distinction ever since. Consult any contemporary textbook or encyclical entry dealing with intension and extension and you will Wnd that the intension of a concept (term, expression) is almost invariably identiWed as the meaning of that concept (term, expression), where meaning is here understood as an internal non-referential factor. Understood in this manner, the dualism of intension and extension is a reXection of a more familiar dualism prominent in 17th century thought, the dualism of mind and matter. As we shall see, however, such a dualistic way of curving out the distinction is not only ontologically problematic, as the discussion that follows clearly indicates but also, as I argue in Sect. 8, too simplistic even from a historical point of view. At the turn of the 20th century an even more secluded view concerning the domain in which intensions may roam gained ascendancy. On the early modern conception, the semantic component identiWed as intension is an intrinsic feature of ideas, and as ideas in the mind are intentional states it is, ipso facto, an intrinsic characteristic of actual intentional states. By contrast, on the inXuential anti-psychological accounts of both Frege (1892) and Husserl (1913) the semantic notions corresponding to intensionFreges sense and Husserls noemaare portrayed as designators of abstract entities which, while capable of occurring in, or of being grasped by, actual intentional states are not concrete constitutive aspects of such states.4 Finding such abstract entities hard to digest, naturalistically inclined philosophers commonly react either by denying the reality of intensional meaning factors altogether, or by turning back to a more psychologically embedded approach. Yet none of these typical responses challenges the basic dualism inherent in identifying extension with matter, or physical stuV, and the corresponding identiWcation of intension as belonging to an antithetical mind stuV. 2.2 Intensionality The reality of intensions gives rise to a related phenomenon known as intensionality. It is customary to distinguish intensionality from extensionality by distinguishing between intensional contexts and extensional contexts. An extensional context is one in which denoting terms whose denotata are co-instantiated (e.g., covalent sentences, co-extensive predicates, and co-referential singular terms) can be intersubstituted salva veritate; an intensional context is one in which such substituitivity cannot be guaranteed. As an example of an extensional context, consider the sentences below:

In interpreting Husserls noema as being an abstract entity on par with Freges sense I follow Follesdal (1969, 1990).

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S1. All pelicans are feathered. S2. All pelicans have intertarsal joints. Given the co-extensiveness of the predicates feathered and possessor of intertarsal joints S2 may be substituted for S1 (and vice versa) without thereby altering the truth-value of the original sentence. Hence, sentences such as S1 and S2 deWne an extensional context and are said to be extensional. By contrast, consider now the following sentences: S3. Doolittle believes that all pelicans are feathered. S4. Doolittle believes that all pelicans have intertarsal joints. In this case, substituting S4 for S3 may fail to preserve the truth-value of the original sentence: co-extension notwithstanding, Doolittles belief that pelicans are feathered does not entail that he also believes that they have intertarsal joints. So, sentences like S3 and S4 deWne an intensional context and are said to be intensional. What sentences like S3 and S4 illustrate is that contexts in which propositional attitudes are being reported, or described, contexts like x believes that ..., y hopes that ..., z desires to, u expects that ..., and so on, are intensional. Let us call such cognitive contexts C-intensional. Interestingly, not all intensional contexts are C-intensional; in particular, an important class of intensional contexts are modal-terms contexts. To use a stock example, consider this pair of sentences: S5. Necessarily creatures with kidneys have kidneys. S6. Necessarily creatures with kidneys have hearts. Despite the fact that all chordates are renates, and although S5 is true, it does not follow that S6 is true. So, modal-terms contexts, too, are intensional and we may label such contexts M-intensional. That not all intensional contexts are C-intensional is an important point which any theory of intensional phenomena with aspirations for completeness ought to address. But although I believe that the account presented in this paper can, in principle, be extended so as to subsume M-intensional contexts, I shall leave the explanation of such contexts for another occasion. Providing an ontologically grounded account of the entire spectrum of intensional phenomena is a magnanimous task whose achievement in one single paper is, Im afraid, beyond my capacities. This is not only because the very question what is the ontological basis of intensional phenomena? has rarely been explored in any systematic fashion before, but also because the connection between the underlying ontology of C-intensional contexts and that of M-intensional contexts is by no means obviouswith the implication being that any attempt to argue for the existence of such a connection requires extra care and deliberation. Therefore, I shall be entirely content if the present eVort, partial though it may be, succeeds in showing that a large and important class of intensional entities, including (but not exhausted by) Cintensional contexts, share a common ontological background and does so in a way which runs counter to the reductive aspirations of extensionalism. I turn back to C-intensional contexts, then. An ontological inquiry into the nature of intensional phenomena compels us to go beyond the dry fact that certain contexts are C-intensional and to ask what, in the nature of the phenomena, accounts for the intensionality manifested in such contexts. The answer, I suggest, can be summarized in the following four theses, which I shall present and explain in order.

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Th1 C-intensional contexts are constituted by higher-order propositional structures (HOPS), namely, by sentences, utterances, or cognitive representations reporting the content of other, lower-order, propositional structures (LOPS).5,6 Explication: Consider again S3 and S4. Such sentences are attitude reports (Crane 2001, p. 21); they describe the attitudes taken by a psychological agent (Doolittle) toward an intentional object, or objects (pelicans). Put diVerently, C-intensional contexts are constituted by propositional structures that take other propositional structures as their intentional objects: whereas Doolittles belief to the eVect that all pelicans are feathered is about pelicans, S3 is about Doolittles belief.7 Th2 Failures to substitute one HOPS for another, co-extensive HOPS, salva veritate are due to failures to preserve the content of the originally reported LOPS. Explication: Quite simply, the reason why S3 does not entail S4 is that the two attitude reports ascribe diVerent contents to the attitude taken by Doolittle vis--vis pelicans: there is a diVerence in content between the belief that all pelicans are feathered, and the belief that they are all creatures with intertarsal joints. Th3 Failures to preserve the content of a LOPS upon substitution of co-extensive HOPS are due to the fact that intentional content is individuated in part in terms of intensions and cannot be speciWed in purely extensional terms. Explication: Observe, Wrst, that the truth-value of a factual statement, whether intensional or not, depends on the identity of its intentional object/s. For example, while all pelicans are feathered is true, all humans are feathered is false. However, when it comes to Cintensional HOPS like S3 the intentional object is itself an intentional state and, as such, is individuated in terms of its content. Consequently, sensitivity to the content of Doolittles belief is crucial for the preservation of the sentences truth-value. But, and here is the major point, the content of Doolittles belief is not reducible to the identity of the beliefs intentional object. Knowing that Doolittles belief is about pelicans is insuYcient for determining the identity conditions of the belief. In addition one must know what is Doolittles take on the big birds, how he represents them to himself, what properties he attributes to them, in short, what intension is associated with the belief. Th4 Hence (by Th1 to Th3), C-intensionality, as manifested by certain HOPS, emanates from the fact that the LOPS being reported by such HOPS are endowed with intensions. In

5 By propositional structure I mean any structure capable of expressing propositional content, whether the structure is cognitive (a representation) or linguistic (a sentence, an utterance). My reason for not using the more familiar term proposition is that this term is often associated with Platonic abstract entities, with whose aYrmation I would hesitate to align myself. 6

It is often maintained that C-intensionality is an exclusively linguistic phenomenon, which has no direct application to any other sort of representational system. (Dennett 1996, p. 38; see also Crane 2003, p. 34; Zalta 1988, p. 3). However, as Searle observes (1983, p. 25), while C-intensionality is a feature of HOPS, there is no reason to suppose that such HOPS must be linguisticjust as some higher-order sentences and utterances are intensional so do some higher-order intentional states. One is reminded here of Freges celebrated assertion that [i]n reported speech one talks about the sense, e.g., of another person's remarks. And that in this way of speaking words do not have their customary reference but designate what is usually their sense. (1892, p. 25). However, in contrast with Frege, I would say that it is not senses as such that are being designated in C-intensional contexts but, rather, actual lower-order representations.

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other words, the intensionality of attitude reports is inherited from the intensional character of the attitudes being reported. Explication: Intensionality, we have seen, is a property of certain HOPS subsuming LOPS as their intentional objects.8 Such LOPS, however, are atypical intentional objects in that they themselves are content-bearing intentional states and, as such, possess an irreducible intensional character and are not fully individuated in terms of their extensions. Therefore, in interchanging co-extensive LOPS the preservation of semantic identity cannot be guaranteed, from which it follows that neither can the corresponding substitution at the metalevel of the HOPS directed at such LOPS guarantee truth-preservation. In sum, failures to substitute co-extensive attitude reports salva veritate are due to the fact that the reported attitudes cannot, in general, be interchanged salva signiWcatum. C-intensionality is rooted in the fact that intentional states are endowed with an intensional dimension, namely, that they are veritable loci of intensions.9 2.3 Intensional Entities In clarifying the connection between intensionality and intensions, we may do well to appeal to a broader category subsuming both. Such a logical category is the category of intensional entities. Intensional entities are characterized by the fact that they contravene the extensionality principle, i.e., the principle that equivalence (as in the case of equivalent sets), or co-presence (as in the case of co-present individuals), imply identity (cf. Bealer 2000). That is, if F and G are two intensional entities such that F G, or that F and G are co-instantiated, it does not follow that F = G. Naturally, this class of entities includes various kinds of noetic entities such as ideas, concepts, propositions and propositional attitudes, precisely those entities which are the bearers of intentional content (hence of intensions) and which give rise to the phenomenon of intensionality. Thus, for example, despite being co-extensive, the concepts feathered and possessor of intertarsal joints are mutually distinguished. Ditto when it comes to propositions such as expressed by S1 and S2, which diVer from one another in that the Wrst sentence employs feathered as its grammatical predicate while the second employs possessor of intertarsal joints. Finally, note that sentences such as S3 and S4, which constitute an intensional context, are also a subspecies of intensional entities: the potential diVerence in their truth-value expresses the fact that the co-extensionality of belief reports does not imply their identity. Intensional entities are contrasted with extensional entities like concrete objects, or sets, which, unlike the former, abide by the extensionality principle: extensionally equivalent sets are, ipso facto, identical, and so is the case with co-instantiated concrete individuals.
8

As Crane observes (2001, p. 21), not all reports of intentional states are intensional. Some reports do not attempt to capture the subjects perspective, and, as a result, their truth-value does not depend on the intensions expressed by the intentional states they describe. For example, the sentence John is thinking of Alaska does not specify the exact manner under which Alaska is represented in Johns thought; it merely dictates that it is, indeed, Alaska that John is thinking of. Hence, replacing the singular term Alaska by a co-extensive expression such as the largest state of the US will result in a truth-preserving substitution.

For this reason, it seems to me that Searle is wrong when he insists, with typical verve, that there is no close connection between intensionality-with-an-s and intentionality-with-a-t, and that the only connection between them is that some sentences about intentionality-with-a-t are intensional-with-an-s. (Searle 1983, p. 24). Clearly, when it comes to C-intensionality (which seems to be the kind of intensionality he is interested in) Searles denial of a close connection to intentionality-with-a-t is untenable as it downplays the fact that the intensionality of attitude reports is a contigent on the intentionality of the reported attitudes.

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Notably, however, not all intensional entities are noetic; properties and relations, for example, are intensional entities par excellenceneither properties nor relations are such that when co-instantiated they are necessarily identical (e.g., the property of being feathered and the property of possessing an intertarsal joint are markedly distinct). Clearly, then, intensional entities are an impressively heterogeneous bunch: some, for example concepts and propositions, are noetic, while others, notably properties and relations, are not. Moreover, within the class of noetic intensional entities, some entities manifest intensionality (e.g., C-intensional propositions), while others (lower-order representations), are not. In the face of such ontological heterogeneity it is only natural to look for a unifying explanation, an explanation which will properly address the question what binds properties, psychological attitudes and attitude reports together in virtue of which they all qualify as intensional entities. The conventional wisdom reigning at the present oVers precise logical criteria with which to identify intensional entities but it oVers little insight into the question what makes such a heterogeneous lot united in contravening the extensionality principle in the Wrst place. Worse still, it provides little insight into the possibility of ordering the Weld of intensional entities such that it will become clear which, among these, are more fundamental in the sense that the intensional character of other intensional entities depends on the fact that they themselves are intensional.10 In short, we seem to lack a sound understanding of the ontological proWle of intensional entities and of the nature of the divide between intensional and extensional entities. Nor is this, in any way, surprising. After all, crisp logical criteria for the demarcation of entities are no substitute for a sound knowledge of their substantive characteristics. In the remaining parts of this inquiry I attempt to unveil the ontological basis of the divide between intensional and extensional entities. Once this is done, I argue, it becomes clear that the extensionalist bias, the tendency of naturalistic, or otherwise scientiWcally minded philosophers to give extensional entities ontological priority over intensional entities, is ill motivated, both conceptually and empirically.

3 Fine-Grained Intensions and Coarse-Grained Intensions: Why Properties are Key in Explaining Intensional Phenomena As noticed, it is an interesting and intriguing feature of the typology based on the extensionality principle that while some intensional entities, such as concepts, propositions, ideas, and thoughts, are noetic, others, such as properties and relations, are not. Clearly, an ontological inquiry must strive to account for this fact and, equally clearly, it must also concern itself with the question: which, among those entities, are explanatorily more fundamental in the sense that their own intensional character is instrumental in explaining the intensional character of other entities. In this section, I argue that the intensional character of noetic intensional entities consists of the fact that such entities are property-ascriptive.11 In other words, the intensional character of noetic entities can be traced to the intensional character intrinsic to the properties they ascribe to the things at which they are directed.
10 Thus, even the claim made in Sect. 2.2 to the eVect that C-intensionality follows from the intensional character of (the having of intensions by) intentional states is rarely represented in the relevant literature. 11

To be sure, noetic entities refer to many things beside properties (objects, situations, events, etc.); nevertheless, as I argue below, the intensional aspect of semantic valuation lies in predication, and the latter consists in property ascription.

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Properties, it will be my conclusion, are the quintessential intensional entities.12 Following familiar terminology, I shall refer to noetic intensional entities as Wne-grained intensions, and to non-noetic intensional entities as coarse-grained intensions (see Bealer 2000; Lewis 1983, pp. 200201).13 Consider Wrst Wne-grained intensions. As was shown before (Sects. 2.2 and 2.3), such entities violate the extensionality principle because their identity conditions, qua semantically laden entities, are not exhausted by a speciWcation of their relevant extensions. In other words, part of what constitutes the content of content-bearing phenomena is determined by a meaning factor that seems to be non-amenable to extensional individuation. Rivers of ink have been poured in attempts to clarify the nature of this intensional meaning factor and no consensus is in sight but if we ask ourselves what is its most signiWcant trademark the answer, I think, is clear. What makes concepts, propositions, thoughts, and their ilk intensional is the fact that they are predicative, namely, that in addition to simply be directed at things external to themselves (hence, be associated with extensions) they also predicate something about those things. The intensional character of predication is manifested in the fact that one-and-the-same entity (or class of entities) may be the object of diVerent predications. To go back to our stock example, to assert of x that it is feathered is to predicate it with an attribute quite diVerent than the one connoted by the assertion that it possesses an intertarsal joint. This diVerence of predication constitutes a diVerence in semantic identity that is independent of the question whether or not the things that are feathered are also the very same things that are endowed with intertarsal joints.14 From this example and countless others possible it can be readily ascertained that predication consists in none other than the ascription of properties (feathered, stable, radioactive, etc.) to the things being predicated. Thus, a solid chain of reasoning traces the intensional character of Wne-grained intensions to the phenomenon of property ascription. Naturally, our next question ought to be is there something about properties that entails the intensional character of property ascription? It does not take too much eVort to see that the answer to our query is positive. We have seen before (Sect. 2.3) that properties are a shining example of intensional entities for the simple reason that the co-instantiation of two properties
and
does not imply their
12 A complete argument in favor of the claim that properties are the quintessential intensional phenomena requires, in addition to the account provided below, a demonstration that the intensionality of modal-terms contexts can also be traced to the nature of properties. I believe that such an account can be given for causal modal statements, where the modal force of such statements is analyzed in terms of the dispositional potency of the properties that sustain the truth makers of such statements (along the lines suggested by Martin and Heil 1999). However, in accordance with my decision not to discuss M-intensionality in any detail here (see Sect. 2.2), I shall not elaborate on this topic any further. 13 As the terms coarse-grained and Wne-grained suggest, the distinction is often taken to imply that two Wne-grained intensions, say two logically equivalent concepts, may be distinct despite corresponding to, or expressing, identical properties (Bealer 2000). While this is a controversial point, I shall not pursue the issue any further. By helping myself into this familiar terminology I assume neither more, nor less, than the fact that it corresponds to the distinction between noetic and non-noetic intensional entities. 14

An alternative way to make the point is this. Intentional states represent their intentional objects under deWnite aspects and their aspectual character is deWnitive of their identity qua content bearing intentional states (cf. Searle 1992, p. 155). A mental state S whose content can be expressed by the proposition all pelicans are feathered represents pelicans as feathered. Representing under this aspect is constitutive of Ss semantic identity. A co-extensive mental state S, representing pelicans as possessors of intertarsal joints, shares with S the same intentional objects but its content is nevertheless diVerent due to the fact that it represents those objects under a diVerent aspect.

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identity. Using P and P as predicates standing for


and
respectively, we can therefore verify that the inference from x = y to Px = Py is illicit on account of the intensional character of
and
. It therefore seems appropriate to conclude that the intensionality of noetic intensional entities is rooted in this peculiar proclivity of properties to defy the extensionality principle. Being instrumental in accounting for the intensional character of concepts, propositions, attitude reports, and so on, properties suggest themselves as the quintessential intensional entities and as the key to a more insightful account of the ontology of intensional phenomena.15 If intensional character is, indeed, anchored in the ontology of properties our next step should be to examine this ontology in some more detail. In particular, I shall concentrate on what sets properties apart from allegedly extensional entities. To put it more precisely, I shall focus on the question what meaning can be given to the distinction between intension and extension outside of semantic contexts, namely, what meaning can be given to these categories as broadly deWned ontological categories.

4 Extensionalism at Work: Some Examples of the Extensionalist Bias in Contemporary Analytic Philosophy Our investigation of the intensional character of noetic entities led us to identify its source with an ontological fact about properties, namely, with the fact that property co-instantiation does not imply property identity. Yet, if our inquiry takes us in the direction of assigning an intensional character to ever more general, and more fundamental features of reality (from statements about intentional states, to intentional states, to the properties expressed by intentional states), surely we must ask why is the idea that intensional phenomena might be rightful, irreducible, residents of physical reality so foreign to the dominant literature on the subject? Why is it almost unanimously accepted that, in the Wnal analysis, intensional entities must be reduced to non-intensional entities, or that if they cannot be so reduced then this very fact constitutes a failure of naturalism? In present day analytic philosophy this metaphysical stance amounts to the persuasion that intensional entities are incompatible with naturalism, or physicalism. On this premise, intensional entities must either be eliminated altogether, or they have to be reduced to, or otherwise accommodated with, an intension-free physical domain (the Wrst option corresponds to eliminative physicalism, the second to reductive physicalism, and the third to non-reductive physicalism). While our ultimate goal is to trace the metaphysical roots of this incompatibility thesis (see Sect. 5) and to assess its validity (Sects. 67), it is useful to consider, Wrst, some of its more familiar manifestations. The association of physicalism with extensionalism is as early as physicalism itself. In its original formulation by Neurath (1931), physicalism is the thesis that all empirical statements can be expressed in the language of physics (i.e., the language of physics is adequate for a complete description of the world). It was, however, Carnapwho followed Neuraths path in adopting physicalism, as well as the thesis of the unity of sciencewho made the association of physicalism with extensionalism explicit. The association was made via the extensionality thesis (not to be confused with the extensionality principle!). According to the extensionality thesis (Russell, in Whitehead and Russell 1925; Carnap 1937), every
15

From now on I shall use properties in a wide sense, which includes also many-place relations. The claim advanced in this section, then, is that the intensional character of noetic intensional entities depends on the intensional character of the properties and relations they express.

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utterance made in an intensional language can be translated without loss into an extensional language. The thesis betrays the idea (which, in the more limited context of mathematical discourse, can be traced to Frege e.g., 1893) that intensional contexts are a reXection of the imperfection of natural language, and that once our language has been purged of nonsense, obscurity, and confusion such contexts will be eliminated. In Carnaps adaptation, the extensionality thesis was amalgamated with the doctrine of physicalism to yield the idea that all expressions utilized by science can be translated into the physical language which itself can be made extensional (Cornman 1962, p. 57).16 Carnaps ingenious attempts to construct a language free of intensional idioms did not succeed, but the appeal of reducing intensional entities to extensional entities has not died out. A similar sentiment pervades Quines inXuential work in semantics and philosophical logic. Already in Two Dogmas of Empiricism (1953), Quine declared war on meanings and was heading in the direction of a purely referential semantics. His extensionalist program is presented in full in Word and Object (1960), where he advocates a Xight from intension (as one of the chapters of the book is so revealingly called), namely, a systematic attempt to rid our scientiWc vocabulary of any reference to intensional entities. Conceding Chisholms (1957, chap. 11) point that there is no way to reduce an intentional vocabulary to a purely extensional one, Quine settles for eliminativism and announces the baselessness of intentional idioms and the emptiness of a science of intention (1960, p. 221).17 By the same token, he also rejects coarse-grained intensions, renouncing properties, relations (in intension), and possibilia as spurious entities, which ought to be dismissed in favor of a purist ontology of concrete individuals, and classes thereof. Thus, Quines semantics, and his ontology, are strictly extensionalist. Yet another important extensionalist program is David Lewiss modal realism (1983, 1986). Unlike Quine, Lewis avails himself to possibilia, yet his extensionalist reductionism is no less austere for that. Lewiss ontology is as extensional as it gets, consisting entirely of individual objectssome of which are actual (i.e., existing in the actual world), some are possible (existing in some possible world), some of which are concrete (e.g., the egg shaped rock I hold in my hand), and some are abstract (e.g., the set containing this rock, my earphones and your favorite CD). Lewiss generous appeal to possible worlds enables him to construct an ingenious solution to the apparent irreconcilability between the reality of properties and the constrictions imposed by an extensionalist ontology. On Lewiss construal, a property is identiWed with the set of all its instancesall of them, this- and other-worldly alike. (1986, p. 50). More technically, properties are reconstructed as functions from possible worlds to sets of possible (sometimes also actual) objects. This enables him to accommodate the problematic fact about properties noted in Sect. 3, namely, the fact that property co-instantiation does not imply property identity. On Lewiss account, accidentally coextensive properties, such as
16 As Cornman notes, this is one way to state the thesis of the unity of science. The demand that all predicates employed by science will be couched in an extensionalist physical language was meant to undermine the dichotomy between the physical sciences and the sciences of the spirit (the Geisteswissenschaften), presumably the natural abode of intensional entities.

Lest the reader gets confused with the switch between intentional and intensional, it may be pointed out that at least some of Chisholms criteria of intentionality are unmistakably criteria of intensionality, i.e., criteria that demonstrate the irreducible intensionality of intentional idioms. In contrasting intentional vocabulary with extensional vocabulary, then, Quine is tacitly presupposing the irreducible intensionality of the former. Unfortunately, Chisholm himself is not explicit about the fact that his discussion of intentionality is, to a large degree, a discussion of intensionality, a confusion replicated by other authors as well (e.g., Fodor and Pylyshyn 1981, p. 188V).

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the property of being a creature with a kidney and the property of being a creature with a heart, are not coextensive at all. They only appear so when we ignore their other-worldly instances. (Ibid. p. 51). There are problems with the technical and conceptual feasibility of Lewiss proposal (for some objections, see Bealer 2000). Yet, even if a solution along Lewis lines is technically Xawless, I argue below that the ontological motivations underlying it are misguided. The reduction of properties to an object-based ontology not only ignores the fact that properties are categorically distinct from objects (as I argue in Sect. 6), it is also premised on an outdated conception of the fundamental furniture of physical reality (see Sect. 7).18 For now, however, we need only observe that, like Carnap and Quine, Lewiss working assumption is that an appropriate ontology, and an appropriate semantics, ought to be purged of irreducible intensional entities. What Carnap, Quine, Lewis, and a great many other philosophers seem to believe is that there is no room for intensional entities in a scientiWcally oriented philosophy. The point is summarized succinctly by Follesdal, in a review of Quines position: as long as intensional entities are not called for within the theory of nature in order to account for the evidence, there is no reason to believe that there are such entities, nor do we have identity criteria for them. (1974, p. 29). Interestingly, this extensionalist bias is also shared by non-reductive physicalists. As a matter of fact, the belief that physical reality is completely extensional, and can be fully described in a strictly extensional language, remained invariant throughout the transition from the reductive positivist ideal of a uniWed science to the more relaxed picture of the autonomous sciences portrayed by non-reductive physicalists such as Fodor (1974). For, while on this view there is no Xat denial of the reality of intensional phenomena, it is nevertheless denied that such phenomena might be constitutive of physical reality as such. Token physicalists insist on the reality of an autonomous, irreducible, realm of psychological (and other special) properties while maintaining that these properties are instantiated by strictly physical realizers. In accordance with this property dualism, the reality of intensional entities such as concepts, and of intensional phenomena such as the phenomenon of seeing as (e.g., seeing Venus as the morning star, rather than as the evening star), is explained by recourse to psychological properties, notably the properties characteristic of symbolic representations (see, for example, Fodor and Pylyshyn 1981). These properties, while physically realizable, are not themselves physical. It follows, then, that what constitutes a system as a physical system has nothing whatsoever to do with intensions. The extensionalist bias of this position consists, then, in the supposition that wherever, and whenever, physical systems manifest intensional characteristics they do so in virtue of non-physical properties; physical systems, qua physical systems, are strictly extensional. Thus, while non-reductive physicalists of the cognitivist creed are more liberal in their approach towards the reality of intensional entities than reductive and eliminative physicalists they nevertheless insist on classifying intensional phenomena as non-physical, thereby aligning themselves with what I have called the extensionalist bias, namely, the view that associates physical with extensional, and that denies that intensional entities might play a constitutive role in the making of physical reality.
18 As explained in Sect. 6, my claim regarding the categorical diVerences between objects and properties pertains to the futility of all attempts to reduce properties to a strictly extensionalist ontology. However, it need not suggest the absurd idea that properties and objects have nothing to do with each other. In other words, we can still speak meaningfully of objects exemplifying properties and of properties as being, in some sense, constitutive of objects.

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In light of the overwhelming prevalence of this extensionalist bias it is worthwhile to examine its metaphysical underpinnings in some detail. I take on this task in the next section.

5 Metaphysical Underpinnings of the Extensionalist Bias There is, then, a solid, if often unspoken, consensus in favor of the view that intensional entities are not, and cannot be, an integral part of physical reality as such. No doubt, this is largely due to the association of such entities with mental and linguistic properties. Yet, as we have seen, even when the reality of intensional entities is associated with non-cognitive phenomena, such as properties, there is a tendency to deny these phenomena a basic physical status. Properties are either eliminated in favor of a purely extensionalist ontology (e.g., Quine), or they are reduced to entities that conform to such an ontology (e.g., Lewis), or the bulk of them are declared non-physical (non-reductive physicalism). Thus, the presumption remains that what is truly physical cannot be truly intensional . In order to assess the validity of this almost unanimous extensionalist bias we must Wrst attempt to understand its metaphysical background and its historical origins. In particular, having identiWed properties as the quintessential intensional entities, we need to understand what lies behind the tendency to deny properties a fundamental physical status, or, what essentially comes down to the same thing, behind the tendency to reduce them to unequivocally extensional parameters. 5.1 First Gambit: Properties cannot be Properly Individuated According to this objection, hailed by Quine (1960, chap. 6; see also Wilson 1955), we have no clear identity conditions for properties. This means that we have neither clear cut criteria for judging when two property instances belong to the same type P, nor clear cut criteria for diVerentiating one member of P from another. While co-instantiation secures the identity of concrete individuals (physical objects and events), and co-extension secures the identity of sets, analogous principles for properties, Quine argues, are not available. There are several lines of argument one could pursue as a rejoinder. First, one may follow Armstrong (1978) in denying that the criteria for solving problems of property individuation must be provided a priori. Causally eVective properties are the domain of scientiWc inquiry and we may learn more about them, including about their identity criteria, as we go. Second, one may attempt to rise up to the challenge by providing acceptable criteria for property identity. Thus, for example, one may attempt to account for the identity criteria of properties in terms of their causal powers or functional roles (for a general overview see Swoyer 2000). Third, one may observe that since objects, events, and states of aVairs are individuated in terms of their properties, rather than the other way around (Martin 1996; Turvey et al. 1981), it is not at all surprising that we Wnd it much more diYcult to individuate properties. It might even be argued that, given the fact that it is in terms of properties that all other entities are individuated, the individuation of properties cannot be further analyzed without regress, and must be presumed primitive (Heil 2003, chap. 12). Finally, a particularly appealing rejoinder, in my view, consists of the simple observation that Quines argument is eVective only insofar as one already suspects that we have no good independent reasons to believe in the irreducible reality of properties. For, suppose, as I argue in Sect. 6, that one have good ontological reasons for believing that properties are irreducibly real physical entities and that they are categorically distinct from extensional

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entities (whether abstract or concrete, actual or possible). In that case, Quines concern is simply not compelling enough to motivate us to seriously suspect the reality of properties. Rather, a natural (and, dare I say, healthy) reaction would be to conclude that, while we ought to take notice of this problem, we simply need to learn more about the ontology of properties before we could hope to solve it, or perhaps dissolve it. To go back to the citation from Follesdal mentioned in Sect. 4, it seems to me that the argument from identity cannot be separated from the deep seated conviction that intensional entities are simply not required in order to account for the evidence. 5.2 Second Gambit: Properties are Universals, Hence are Too Spooky to be Taken as Primitive Constituents of Physical Reality An ontologically deeper, and certainly historically more inXuential reason behind the reluctance to treat properties as basic ingredients of the physical world has to do with the fact that throughout the history of philosophy properties have often been considered platonic universals. The intuition behind thinking of properties as universals is that diVerent particulars (say two spatiotemporally separate white cars) may be the same in certain respects (e.g., with respect to whiteness). Since properties just are such qualifying respects, and if being the same as is interpreted as being identical to, it follows that one-and-the-same property is shared by a plurality of distinct particularshowever causally detached from one another they may be. Unsurprisingly, this idea is not easily reconcilable with a conception of physical reality as consisting of concrete systems, all the more so if properties are understood, as they often have been, as universals ante rem, that is, as general natures, or platonic forms, whose existence is completely independent of realization in concrete particulars. In reaction to such Platonism, medieval nominalists maintained that reality consists solely of concrete individuals, taking universals to be nothing more than linguistic labels, or, at the most, mental abstractions. No doubt, this nominalist sentiment still looms large in contemporary naturalistic philosophy, as is the supposition that properties are, somehow, shrouded in platonic abstractness.19 Yet, none of this need to be taken for granted. In particular, my intention is to indicate that there is absolutely no necessity to characterize properties as universals, let alone ante rem universals, and to intimate that Platonism is by no means the only alternative to outright nominalism. The alternative conception of properties I would like to highlight is that of properties as particular modes of concrete individuals (see Martin and Heil 1999; Heil 2003, chap. 13).20 The modes conception of properties is recognizably similar to trope theory. Williams (1953) has introduced the term trope to modern philosophical parlance to denote particular instances of qualities. Thus, two shirts with the same shade of red exemplify two red tropes, two particular instances of redness. Tropes, however, are not particular instances of universals. On this account, there is no universal quality such as redness, or the quality of

Thus, modulo the admission of sets (whose admission is grounded in their theoretical expediency), both David Lewiss and Quines ontologies are exemplars of nominalism (although, unlike Lewis, Quine believes that the admission of sets disqualify his ontology from being one). A still more austere nominalism is defended by Sellars (1967). Another important contemporary alternative to either Platonism or nominalism is Armstrongs (e.g., Armstrong, 1978, 1989) Aristotelian conception of properties as in rebus universals, i.e., as denizens of spatiotemporal reality, wholly present in each of their numerically distinct instances. As my sympathies lie elsewhere, I shall not discuss Armstrongs conception of properties as immanent universals any further.
20

19

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being red, of which particular objects partake and in virtue of which they are red. Rather, what qualiWes our shirts as red is the fact that they possess particular tropes, particular quality instances, in virtue of which they are perceived as red. Once properties are interpreted as tropes there is no literal sense in which we can say of a property that it is shared by distinct physical structures. Describing two objects as sharing the same property should be understood as a Wgure of speech, more appropriately explained as the fact that the objects in case possess exactly similar tropes (Martin and Heil 1999).21 As Heil (2003, chap. 13) reminds us, however, trope theorists have often associated their trope characterization of properties with the thesis that tropes are the building blocks of the universe and that objects are nothing but bundles of tropes. Heil suggests that if we do not wish to associate ourselves with this view we might do better by reaYrming the traditional term mode, and by thinking of properties as modes. The modes terminology has another advantage, as it directs our attention to the fact that properties are not constitutive parts of the things in which they inhere but, rather, are constitutive aspects of things; in the familiar parlance, they are ways things are (Martin 1980; Armstrong 1989), namely, speciWc qualitative manners, or modes of being, which things exemplify. I shall have more to say about the modes conception of properties in Sect. 6, since I believe that understanding properties as modes is pivotal in understanding the categorical diVerence between things and properties and the futility of the attempt to reduce properties to a thing-based ontology. Let us turn now to the last and, as I would like to propose, the most important reason underpinning the extensionalist bias. 5.3 Third Gambit (The Legacy of Mechanism): Reducing Properties to a Basic Set of Extensional Entities is an Imperative of Good ScientiWc Practice The most signiWcant single factor behind the prevalence and persistency of radical extensionalism in contemporary philosophical theory can, I believe, be traced directly to the very metaphysical foundations of modern science. Simply put, the mechanistic outlook of reality that has emerged with the rise of modern science in the 17th century depicted nature in almost exclusively extensionalist terms, while denying intensional entities equal footing. By identifying physical reality with extended matter, it made the bias in favor of an extensionalist ontology, and an extenstionalist semantics, a sine qua non for any scientiWcally oriented philosophy;22 and while many of the core assumptions of this mechanistic outlook are no longer valid in the present scientiWc context its legacy remains highly inXuential, extensionalism being only one of its many lasting manifestations. But before we take a deeper look at the extensionalist foundation of modern science, we must Wrst aYrm the connection between this metaphysical extensionalism and the semantic extensionalism with which we began our inquiry, as I suspect that in the current intellectual climate this connection is far from obvious.

21

Giving up the idea that identical properties might be shared is a potential source of concern insofar as it presupposes a primitive notion of similarity and deprives us of the ability to explain similarity in terms of the sharing of universals (I am indebted to Ariel Meirav for turning my attention to this problem.). See Heil (2003, chap. 14), however, for an argument that no high stakes are involved in the adoption of a primitive notion of perfect similarity. Be that as it may, I shall not dwell on the issue any further since my intention is not to provide a systematic argument in favor of trope theory but merely to indicate that there exists a coherent and, in many respects, attractive alternative to the identiWcation of properties with universals. Notably, Leibnizs philosophical system oVers a rare example of an early alternative to extensionalism.

22

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As we have seen, the extension of a term (or a concept, or an idea) is the set of things it picks out, or over which it can be truly predicated. On the semantic conception, then, it is linguistic and mental entities that have extension, not physical objects per se. Nevertheless, the links to metaphysical extensionalism cannot be overlooked. Observe, Wrst, that the idea of a term extending over a class of entities is a metaphorical extension (no pun intended) of commonsensical uses of the verb extend, suggesting that the term unfolds, or stretches out, so as to cover the said entities. Yet, it is from this very same root, extendere, and the very same idea of being extended, that Descartes notion of spatial extension is also derived (indeed, it can hardly be a coincidence that the introduction of the semantic notion of extension historically coincides with the rise of extension as a prominent concept in 17th century physical thought).23 In short, extension in the semantic sense of the term is an apposite metaphorical extrapolation from extension in the physical, or metaphysical, sense. Second, extensional entities, those entities that abide by the extensionality principle, are objectswhether concrete objects (tables, guinea pigs), or abstract objects (numbers, sets)and this, again, suggests an aYnity to metaphysical extensionalism, i.e., to the doctrine that nature, phusis, consists entirely of elementary objects. Now, while it is true that the objects of semantic, or logical, discourse need not be concrete physical objects it seems evident that here, again, we have an extension of the idea of an extended physical substance. This is not the time or place for a meticulous study of how the idea of an abstract object relates to the idea of a concrete object but it is plain to see that even when our category of objects is broadened so as to cover abstract objects we are still dealing with extensional entities, whose identity, like that of the physical objects of Newtonian science but unlike properties, is determined by their extension.24 Finally, and most signiWcantly, it can hardly be overemphasized that semantic extensionalism presupposes metaphysical extensionalism. It makes little sense to try to reduce intensional discourse to extensional discourse unless you believe that extensional entities are somehow more basic than intensional entities. In sum, the semantic notion of extension seems to be rooted in a robustly identiWable metaphysical background. Overlooking the bond between semantic extensionalism and metaphysical extensionalism is not only contrived and profoundly ahistorical, but a veritable stumbling block to a sound understanding of the extensionalist bias. The characterization of physical reality as being essentially extensional can be traced to the scientiWc revolution of the 17th century, and to the mechanistic conception of the world to which it gave rise. The most conspicuous expression of this characterization is, of course, due to Descartes. In Descartes dualistic philosophy extension is considered the essence of material existence, in contrast with cognition, which is the essence of spiritual existence. Matter in general, res extensa, is a continuum whose only properties are spatial properties, i.e., the spatial-geometrical dimensions of depth, length, and breadth. It is, in eVect, a homogenous (hence utterly simple), passive, spatially extended stuV. The identiWcation of matter with extensive substance has been solidiWed following Newtons groundbreaking work on the motion of bodies. According to Newton, the material world consisted ultimately of atoms, namely, of tiny particles considered as the most elementary building blocks of the universe out of which everything else is composed, and to
23 Both Arnauld and Leibniz, who used extension to refer to a semantic category, were thoroughly familiar with Descartes notion of matter as res extensa. 24

Physical objects are identical when co-extensive (physical sense), and abstract objects, such as sets, are identical when the objects over which they extend (semantic sense) are co-extensive (in either the physical, or the semantic sense).

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which it may be decomposed. Although Newtons conception of matter is, in some important respects, quite diVerent from Descartes its implications in terms of the extensionalist bias are similar, and are no less obvious. As a matter of fact, the diVerence between Newtons atoms and the extended matter of Descartes is primarily a diVerence of scale. For like Cartesian extension, the atoms of classical mechanics are homogeneous passive chunks of matterin point of fact, they can be thought of as extension reduced to the inWnitesimal limits of the diVerential calculus. A skeptic, however, could question the force of my claim that the scientiWc image of the world bequeathed upon us by the founding fathers of modern science is, indeed, thoroughly extensional. Recall that, on our account, properties are the quintessential intensional entities while objects are the paradigmatic extensional entities. It transpires, then, that an extensionally biased ontology is an ontology in which objects are given priority over properties. Yet, the skeptic may argue, it is far from obvious that such a claim can be established vis-vis the mechanistic worldviews of Galileo, Descartes, Boyle, Newton, and their contemporaries. In so arguing, she may point to the fact that some properties, hence some intensional entities, were absolutely indispensable in either Descartess or Newtons portrayals of the material world. Consider Wrst Descartess conception of matter. Even in its most general characterization as res extensa, Cartesian matter possesses the geometrical properties of length, breadth, and depth, and when it comes to particular physical bodies some additional irreducible characteristics (simple natures, in Descartess parlance) must be admitted: impenetrability, divisibility, Wgure, and, in particular, mobility and Xexibility (the capacity for conWgurational change due to relative movements of parts). Similarly, Newtons atoms were predicated with mobility, impenetrability, solidity, and inertia. If such properties were considered indispensable attributes of the most basic material components of the universe, then what sense can be given to the claim that the mechanistic worldview of the founders of modern science was disposed towards an ontology of objects, and against an ontology of properties? In attempting to answer this question, we must Wrst point to the fact that, taken to its utmost extreme, extensionalism is simply incoherent: a world which consists of objects simpliciter is but a phantasm since every object necessarily possess some properties. In the complete absence of properties, there would be no ground for the diVerentiation of objects from one another, nor to mutual causal interactions. But although the ideal of a purely extensional ontology is incoherent when pushed to the limit it may nevertheless be approximated to a signiWcant degree. I suggest, then, that we need to think of the extensionalist bias in relative terms, and that, once we do so, there is solid ground for the claim that the mechanistic conception of nature presupposed by the founding fathers of modern science yielded a bias in favor of an overly object-oriented metaphysics. Let us consider now some of the facts that substantiate the thesis that such a bias was indeed built into the foundations of modern science. Note Wrst that, on both the Cartesian and the Newtonian picture, nature is seen as made out of simple, unorganized objects possessing nothing but a basic set of the most elementary and indispensable properties, the so-called primary qualities. Note also that the list of primary qualities can be divided to two distinct categories. The Wrst category consists of measurable quanta: for example, geometrical volume, mass, and velocity (in the Newtonian sense) are all amounts, or quantities, of matter in motion. The second category consists of what I shall call underlying qualities. These are qualities, which while not purely quantitative are such that the founding fathers of mechanistic philosophy found them indispensable for establishing the coherence and plausibility of the very notion of matter in motion.

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This category includes qualities such as solidity, indestructibility, indivisibility, and inertia.25 In the present context, the class of primary qualities that I identiWed as measurable quanta deserves some further attention. Consider, Wrst, that not only is it the case that the mechanistic worldview reduces all qualities to a narrow set of primary qualities but also, that, out of this narrow set, a signiWcant number of qualities are, in fact, quantitiesmagnitudes of matter in motion. Interestingly, such magnitudes correspond to what scientists call extensive magnitudes (see, e.g., Carnap 1966, chap. 7). An extensive magnitude is a magnitude whose value is proportional to the amount of the substance for which it is a measure. Such a magnitude can be expressed as the additive sum of the separate amounts of the subsystems that compose the entire system.26 Thus, for example, Newtonian velocity is an extensive magnitude in that if bodies A, B, and C move on a straight line in the same direction, and the velocity of B relative to A is V1, and the velocity of C relative to B is V2, then, in classical mechanics, the velocity V3 of C relative to A is equal to V1 + V2. What is worth noticing here is that such magnitudes imply no genuine qualitative novelty: they are merely greater, or lesser extents of matter in motion.27 To put it otherwise, qualitative novelty, emergence, presupposes non-linearity (Bickhard 2000; Kppers 1992; Whitehead 1929/1969, p. 41), it does not result from a merely linear summation of microcomponents. Thus, the primary qualities corresponding to extensive magnitudes are more appropriately thought of as quantitative variabilities of extended matter in its hyolic form (whatever that may be), rather than as its qualitative modiWers.28 Perhaps this provides for a partial illumination of what is meant by the frequent, disillusioned, observation that the mechanistic worldview transformed our image of nature from that of a qualitative realm to that of a quantitative one (see, e.g, Koyre 1968, pp. 2324). I think that this already gives us a sense of how the ideal of an extensional ontology was approximated by the mechanistic worldview of the 17th century. On this scientiWc image, nature is pictured as made out of simple objects, i.e., simple chunks of extended matter. The only qualities possessed by such elementary objects belong to a narrow set of primary qualities of which a signiWcant portion of qualities, those that correspond to extensive magnitudes, are more appropriately conceived as variable quantities of the primitive stuV out of which elementary objects are made, and the restsolidity, indestructibility, inertia and so onare minimal qualities without which no coherent, and scientiWcally workable, sense can be given to the idea of a reality composed of elementary material constituents.
25 Of course, properties such as solidity and impenetrability may come in degrees, hence be measurable, insofar as complex bodies (bodies, say, that are made as conWgurations of atoms) may be more or less solid, or impenetrable. But the point is that the ultimate constituents of nature (e.g., the atoms of Newton, or the corpuscles of Boyle) were taken to be solid and impenetrable in an absolute and unvaried sense.

Carnap himself is sympathetic to the view that not all extensive magnitudes are additive. For example, relativistic velocity (in contradistinction with Newtonian velocity) is, on his account, a non-additive extensive magnitude. However, Carnap also accentuates that (a) the question whether non-additive extensive magnitudes are, indeed, extensive is, to a large extent, a matter of convention; (b) that many authors identify extensive magnitudes with additive magnitudes, and that [t]here is no need to criticize such usage (1966, p. 76); and (c) that, in any case, even on his more liberal approach the vast majority of extensive magnitudes are additive.
27 The point is made by Russell in his discussion of extensive quantities and intensive quantities in On The Relations of Number and Quantity (1897, pp. 331332). Russell himself attributes this observation to Hegel.

26

The essence of this insight was, I believe, captured by Leibniz in asserting that extension expresses nothing but a simultaneous diVusion or repetition of some particular nature, or what amounts to the same thing, a multitude of things of this same nature which exist together with some order between them (GP II 269/L536, quoted in Rutherford 1998, p. 248).

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Yet, the metaphysical picture underlying the rise of modern science can be shown to be biased in favor of an extensionalist ontology in still another important respect. Such a bias is manifested in the metaphysical priority given to substances (hence objects) over modes (hence properties). The gist of this priority can be traced to Aristotles distinction between substances and accidents. For Aristotle, accidents were things that happen to, and that depend upon, an underlying substance without being essential to the existence of that substance (Met. 1025a14; Top. 102b414). For example Socrates height, or the fact that he had a snub nose, were thought oV as accidents of the primary substance that is Socrates. On this picture, then, substances are ontologically fundamental whereas the existence of accidents is incidental and derivative. Descending to medieval times, the substance-accident dichotomy was central to scholastic philosophy, providing support, inter alia, to the doctrine of transubstantiation. Capitalizing on this traditional dichotomy Descartes nevertheless revised it, substituting modes for accidents.29 For Descartes, then, modes were accidents: while matterres extensapossessed the essential attribute of extension, the modes, i.e., the qualitative manifold manifested by speciWc bodies, were all accidental. The presumption that substances are ontologically fundamental is already a reXection of an extensionalist bias insofar as it suggests the possibility of an independently existent substance, which, developed to its logical extreme, culminates in the idea of a bare substratum, to wit, in Lockes infamous unknown something. However, prior to modern times this bias was eVectively checked by a decisively non-extensional notion of substance. For Aristotle and the scholastics material substances were in-formed and, hence, richly organized: since matter was inseparable from substantive form there was never really a room for the view that, in the Wnal analysis, nature consists of nothing but simple chunks of a homogeneous extensive stuV.30 Yet, all this was about to change with the advent of the mechanistic worldview of the 17th century, which purged material substances of their substantive forms and bequeathed on us the atomistic legacy of an impoverished, unorganized, mattera res extensawith which nature must ultimately be identiWed if it is to be approached in a scientiWc manner. In the next section, I argue that an ontological analysis of propertiesthe quintessential intensional entitiesdemonstrates in unequivocal terms that, insofar as these entities are understood as concrete modes, or aspects, their reality can be shown to Xy in the face of the notion of unorganized, homogenous, and passive, elementary material constituents.

6 Why Properties, Understood as Modes, are Categorically Distinct from Objects Extensionalism is an essentially nominalist position in that it implies the ontological priority of objects over properties. As we have seen, it is also associated with atomistic reductionism, namely, with the doctrine that physical reality is ultimately composed of elementary particles, i.e., of simple, unorganized, independently existent, and inherently passive, chunks of matter. In what follows, I argue that neither atomism, nor the priority thesis, are easily reconcilable with a conception of properties as concrete modes. On the premise that properties are aspects, or concrete modes, it becomes transparent that they are categorically distinct from objects, from which it follows that it makes little
29

In medieval times the term mode had a variety of diVerent senses none of which corresponded exactly to the notion of accident.

30

This assertion is, I think, true regardless of the fact that Aristotles conception of substantive forms underwent some important modiWcations during the Middle-ages (see, e.g., Pasnau 2004).

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sense to attempt to reduce them to the latter, even if such a reduction were technically feasible.31 In addition, it also transpires that the ontology of such modes, or aspects, presupposes holistic organization and is, therefore, incompatible with atomism.32 In particular, I argue that the modes conception of properties implies that the natural systems in which modes are exempliWed are complexly organized, or to put it more clearly, that such systems manifest an intrinsic pattern of organization, an immanent form. On a modes conception of properties, properties are concrete aspects of things, concrete qualitative manners, or diVerentiating respects, which things exemplify. Thus, sphericity is a constitutive aspect of billiard balls, rumination a constitutive aspect of bovines, and so on. Nominalists, and perhaps more broadly extensionalists, assume that nothing of essence is lost if we reduce properties to a thing-based ontology. Yet, from the point of view of a modes conception of properties such reductive attempts seem rather odd. First, to be an aspect of a concrete thing is not to be another, smaller, thing of which the former is made. That is, aspects are not constitutive parts of objects; they are not microcomponents from which things are assembled. Sphericity, for example, is not something of which billiard balls are made, in the sense, say, in which they are made out of molecules. Rather, spehricity is a way billiard balls are, a mode of being they exemplify (cf. Martin and Heil 1999). Second, on a modes conception of properties it becomes clear why properties are intensional entities, viz., why when it comes to properties co-instantiation does not imply identity. Co-instantiated aspects are complementary dimensions, diVerent faces, of a multifaceted whole. Each aspect contributes to the whole in a diVerent way, and is distinguished in virtue of its unique contribution. Thus, spin angular momentum and orbital angular momentum are both co-present in planetary bodies; yet, spinning around the center of gravity and moving in an orbit are two distinct characteristics of planetary motion, and of what it takes to be a planet. In short, it is precisely because an object manifests a variety of diVerent faces, causally operative in diVerent ways, that the facesthe aspectsit manifests are mutually distinguished, co-instantiation notwithstanding. The fact that to be an aspect of a thing is not to be a thing twice over gives us an altogether good reason for skepticism with regard to the extensionalist enterprise. But a modes conception of properties also runs counter to the atomism presupposed by extensionalist reductions. First, as we have seen, aspects do not come in isolation. Indeed, the fact that an aspect is but one face in a multifaceted whole implies that there will always be other, complementary, aspects as the size, or the texture, of a ball are to its sphericity. Second, an aspect is always of something, something other, and more inclusive, than itselfbeing blue, small, shabby, and punctured are all aspects of the ball the kids left at old ODempseys yard, and neither of them is identical with the ball or exhaust its nature. In short, whenever there is an aspect there is also a multifaceted whole of which it is but
31 Of course, even if objects and properties are mutually irreducible it may well be that both are reducible to some third category. Indeed, this seems to be the credo of process philosophies (e.g., Bickhard 2000; Whitehead 1929/1969). Attractive as this possibility may be, exploring it is beyond the scope of this paper. 32

By atomism I have in mind the view that, in its most fundamental level of existence, physical reality consists of a basic set of mutually separated, or separable, chunks of matter. Thus, I am concerned with the conceptual thread that connects the atomism of Leucippus and Democritus to the corpuscularianism of 17th century dynamics, to more recent articulations of a mechanistic physical framework. This being so, the critique of atomism implicated in the discussion that follows is not directed against the process atomism (i.e., the atomism of acts of becoming) suggested in the works of Whitehead and his followers (see, e.g., Whitehead 1929/1969, p. 41; Leclerc 1958, pp. 7174).

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one aspect, a partial manifestation. Hence, insofar as objects are the bearers of aspects they are necessarily somewhat complex. Third, in general co-instantiated aspects are not simply clustered together in an arbitrary fashion; rather, they relate to one another in deWnite, and often systematically mutually constraining, stabilizing, or supporting manners, a fact which suggests that the things in which aspects inhere are not only necessarily somewhat complex, but are also necessarily somewhat organized. Examples in nature abound. Thus, in the study of animal behavior we Wnd that the size of the hippocampus in many species of birds and mammals is systematically correlated with the way they use space in tasks such as homing, mating, and food storage (Sherry 1998); in comparative anatomy, that the jaw structure in primates is correlated with their typical diet; in atomic chemistry, that the natural radioactivity of elements is correlated with large atomic numbers; in optics, that the texture of a surface aVects its reXectance properties; and so on. Fourth, aspects, it seems, are inherently dynamic in the sense that the possession of an aspect either constitutes an activity of a thing or a disposition for active causal inXuence. Thus, spinning around their centers of gravity is something planets do, while seemingly static aspects, such as shapes, constitute various dispositions for interaction (for instance, a spherical object resists friction in a diVerent fashion than a squared object of similar size, mass, and constitution, and the shape of an enzyme determines whether it will, or will not, dock onto a given substrate). Indeed, aspects are not merely ways things are; more appropriately, they can be described as ways things unfold, where each way is a distinct arrow of determination in a Weld of causal potentialities.33 Finally, the ontology of aspects seems to presuppose not only that the things in which they inhere are complex, organized, and dynamic but also that they manifest intrinsic patterns of organization. Thus, being cautious is a form of experience and behavior, a psychoecological pattern that unfolds in time and involves a coordinated ensemble of feelings, movements, postural adjustments, attention, anticipation, and so on. The reXectance of a surface is a complex optical pattern involving texture, the direction and intensity of illumination, light absorption, the surfaces degree of opaqueness, etc. Equilaterality is a geometrical form of relationships between elements, a spatial pattern; orbital angular momentum is a form of movement, a mechanical pattern, the periodicity of chemical clocks is a stable form of oscillation, a far-from-equilibrium thermodynamic pattern; and the list goes on and on. Indeed, the notion of a pattern takes us to the heart of the contrast with extensionalism. Natural patterns manifest all the characteristics mentioned above: a natural pattern is a pattern of something and is complementary to other patterns, it manifests a veritable degree of complexity and organization, and it is inherently dynamic (in the above dispositional sense). Yet a pattern is a form of organization and so, to the extent that the manifestation of an aspect implies that the thing which manifests that aspect is the locus of an immanent form of organization it seems to take us in a direction diametrically opposed to the extensionalist conception of the material world. Extensionalism, recall, is rooted in a mechanistic view of nature that is premised on the following two assumptions: (a) that complex phenomena can be ultimately reduced to their most elementary micro-constituents, and (b) that those elementary building blocks are simple, unorganized chunks of matter. On this view, the manifestation of a pattern of organization, that is, of an immanent form, is, in a sense, illusory. Since matter is, at the core,
33

This last observation converges, I believe, with Martin and Heils (1999) view that every property is at once dispositional and qualitative, from which it follows that the possession of a quality is always dispositionally operative.

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formless, and since, in the Wnal account, the whole of the physical world is nothing but such core material constituents, it follows that form cannot be an immanent feature of physical reality per se. Indeed, as we have seen, one of the distinctive marks of the rise of the mechanistic worldview was the rejection of the Aristotelian conception of substance, complete with its commitment to the indispensability of immanent forms. Thus, a die-hard extensionalist could argue that the discussion in this section is largely irrelevant. The examples I have considered, she might argue, all pertain to systems that are, by all accounts, complex hence it does not constitute a refutation of the extensionalist presumption that at its most elementary core nature consists of formless fundamental building blocks. If anything, she may add, it gives us all the more reason to believe that intensional entities cannot be physically fundamental. Note, however, that the extensionalist bias can only be justiWed if organized individuals, in-formed substances, can be reduced to formless objects. In the coming section I argue that this cannot be done. Surprisingly, the demise of extensionalism comes precisely from the one place where it ought to have been vindicated, contemporary theories of the most fundamental constituents of physical reality. Thus, I argue next that in light of our best contemporary physics, it transpires that neither the supposition that objects are ontologically prior to aspects, nor the atomistic ideal of reducing the whole of nature to formless particles are tenable.34

7 The Demise of Extensionalism in Contemporary Physics From a naturalistic perspective, the attempt to reduce aspects to a thing-based ontology only make sense if we have good reasons to believe that such an endeavor is consonant with our best empirically informed account of the world we inhabit. More speciWcally, as we have seen, extensionalist reductions presuppose an atomistic conception of nature according to which, at the bottom, nature consists of elementary, formless, particles. Yet, it is a startling and ironic lesson of contemporary physics that such particles are nowhere to be found. Consider Wrst, the notion of an atom. Neither indivisible, nor structureless, nor, indeed, indestructible the atoms of modern physical theory bear little resemblance to the atoms of Newtonian mechanics. The search for the fundamental building blocks of atomistic metaphysics must therefore go further and deeper, into the deep waters of the subatomic realm. Yet, instead of providing a deWnite support for extensionalism, instead of consolidating the notion of solid, formless, elementary chunks of matter as the ultimate basis of all there is our best contemporary physics seems to steadily and consistently undermine it. The Wrst serious crack in the idea of particulate building blocks came with Einsteins relativity theory.35 Rejecting the idea that a mechanical substance, the ether, must carry the vibrations of the electromagnetic Weld, Einstein was driven, in his special relativity theory, to consider the notion of a Weld as an entity in its own right. In general relativity theory, the structure of space-time itself was identiWed with a Weld, the gravitational Weld. The omnipresence of Welds, and some notorious conceptual diYculties in attempting to reconcile the
34 Bickhard (e.g., 2000) advances a similar argument to counter Kims (e.g., 1993, 1998) micro-reductive assault on the possibility of genuine emergence. 35

The introduction of Welds as pivotal entities in the electromagnetic theories of Faraday and Maxwell can be seen as an even earlier crack in the atomistic worldview, but it wasnt until Einsteins relativity theory that Welds were recognized as independent entities, irreducible to any underlying mechanical medium.

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notion of a fundamental particle (whether a rigid extended body or a point particle) with the reality of relativistic force Welds, led Einstein to conclude that Welds are the only primary reality, and to propose that we might be able to explain the manifestation of particle-like behavior as intense localized concentrations of Weld energy (Bohm 1980; Born 1962; Hiley 1991). Einsteins attempts to achieve this Wt in a uniWed Weld theory were unsuccessful but, as we shall see below, a similar idea is implemented in the highly successful quantum Weld theory. A more intense blow to the extensionalist vision of a world built out of elementary objects came with the advent of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics shows in unequivocal terms that as we go down the ladder of size and complexity to reach the simplest known particlesphotons, leptons, and quarkswhat we Wnd are not minute material corpuscles but, rather, a whole new kind of reality which, though capable, under certain circumstances, of manifesting particle-like qualities, bear little resemblance to the particles of old. To mention but some of the more conspicuous deviations from the classical notion of a material corpuscle consider the following. First, the transition between stationary states (e.g., between energy levels of an electron orbiting around a nucleus) is quantized, in accordance with Plancks constant. In other words, quantum particles jump in a discrete fashion from one energy state to another, without passing through a continuous series of intermediate states. Second, in accordance with Heisenbergs uncertainty principle, quantum objects (or quantons) manifest uncertainty of position vis--vis momentum, and of energy vis-vis time. Third, quantons manifest a wave-particle duality: in some contexts they appear to behave as particles (as in Einsteins photo-electric eVect), in others as waves (for example, when manifesting diVraction). Fourth, the wave function describing the quantal situation is probabilistic; it does not represent actual situations but, rather, propensities, namely, it describes diVerentiated tendencies of the particle to be located in certain regions. Fifth, as illustrated in Einstein, Podolsky and Rosens experiment, quantons manifest instantaneous non-local connections. In short, rather than approximating the extensionalist ideal of a world made out of simple (hence unorganized and aspect-less), solid, and independently existent micro-constituents quantum mechanics seems to substantively dissolve this familiar picture. Moving to quantum Weld theory the moral becomes even more conspicuous. For in quantum Weld theory particles are treated as quantizations of Weld processes. That is, what appears as a particle of a given type (say an electron) is explained as a quantal excitation of the vibratory patterns of the Weld (in this case, the electron-positron Weld) in much the same way as the plucking of a guitar string causes a sudden increment in the oscillatory patterns of the string corresponding to a discrete quantized value (Davis 1979, 1984; Hiley 1991; Weinberg 1977). On this picture, it is the insubstantive Welds that are the primary entities whereas particles are understood as localized, and ultimately transient, energy patterns within those Welds. Finally, in string theory all the elementary particles are identiWed as various oscillatory patterns, or modes of vibration, of underlying microcosmic strings. That is, string theory explains the characteristic features of the various kinds of particles, such as their distinguished masses and force charges, as being nothing but various types of resonant oscillatory patterns of what are otherwise identical tiny Wlaments. What appear to be diVerent elementary particles, then, are diVerent types of vibration patterns, diVerent notes on a fundamental string (Greene 1999, chap. 6). All of these developments reveal a steady tendency within contemporary physics that is diametrically opposed to the extensionalist credo. First, it shows that the particles of old solid, simple, passive, and indestructible chunks of mattersimply do not exist. Second, it shows that the most elementary systems that do manifest particulate qualities, the fundamental particles of subatomic physics, are intrinsically Xuctuating entities (many of whom are highly unstable), which manifest process patterns (e.g., the transmutation of a

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photon into a virtual electron-positron pair) and are sensitive to process patterns in their environment (e.g., as when the probing of a detector brings down the collapse of an electrons wave function). Such particles are neither passive, nor are they isolated atoms immune to internal change, whether spontaneous or extrinsically induced. Nor, indeed, are they tangible, solid substancestheir jittery behavior and fuzzy, probabilistic, diVusion counts not only against any such notions but also against the very idea that they are more than tendencies for actual manifestations. Finally, our glimpse into quantum Weld theory and string theory points at the startling conclusion that elementary particles are no more than vibratory modes of some underlying oscillatorsWelds, or stringsin other words, that it is the Welds, or strings, that are basic, whereas particles are but derived constructions. What seems to follow from all of this is a stark denial of the idea that form can be reduced to an ontology of formless material objects. If anything, contemporary physics seems to point in the opposite direction in that it portrays elementary particles as dynamic patterns of movements, distinctive forms of Xuctuations in an ocean of ceaseless rhythmic activity.36 By the same token, it also undermines the idea that aspects are somehow less elementary than objects. First, as we go down the level of complexity and organization and into the quantum world we do not reach simple objects devoid of a multiplicity of aspects; rather, we encounter ambiguous entities whose particle-like (hence object-like) behavior is only a partial manifestation, an aspect, of their mysterious probabilistic nature. Second, as quantum Weld theory and string theory, indicate particle-like phenomena are but various modes of vibration, hence various aspects, of a non-particulate underlying reality. My purpose here, however, is not to urge a complete reversal of the extensionalist bias, i.e., to argue that aspects are more fundamental than objects, and, consequently, that intensional entities are more basic than extensional ones. For even without going into such an extreme it seems compulsory to conclude that in the present context of scientiWc development reductive extensionalism is no longer defensible and, hence, that it need no longer be Xuttered as a regulative ideal of naturalistic philosophy.

8 Meaning and Form: On the Scholastic Roots of Intension Our investigation has traced the intensional character of Wne-grained intensionsconcepts, propositions, propositional attitudes and the liketo the intensional character of properties. We have also established a connection between the intensional character of properties and the irreducible reality of dynamic patterns of organization, or immanent forms. Indeed, I argued that the systematic inclination of scientiWcally minded philosophers towards nominalism, and, more generally, extensionalism, owes much to that deWning moment in the history of Western science where immanent forms were eliminated, to be replaced by a mechanistic conception of matter as passive and homogeneous. All this indicates rather clearly that the problem of integrating intensional entities within a broadly construed naturalistic worldview has to do with a basic incompatibility between the ontology presupposed by the reality of such entities and a kosher mechanistic ontology. Underlying the problem, to be sure, is the tacit assumption that a worthwhile naturalistic worldview cannot be anything but mechanistic. Though much more needs to be said to establish a conclusive counterargument to the mechanistic conception of nature, our discussion pointed out some of its limitations and, in particular,
36 According to quantum Weld theory even the vacuum is the locus of vibrating energy levels, pulsating in endless rhythms of creation and destruction of virtual particles (see, e.g., Saunders and Brown 1991). Hence not only are the atoms of classical atomism an outdated notion but so is its notion of the void.

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highlighted the fact that the present scientiWc climate is much more hospitable to the idea of dynamic immanent forms than many philosophers of a naturalistic inclination would suspect. I would like to conclude by showing that the connection between intensions and forms is not only conceptually compelling, but also historically grounded. As Mary Spencer argues in a delightful little paper (Spencer 1971), in introducing the term intension to the semantic context with which we are now familiar (see Sect. 2) Leibniz was utilizing a suggestive metaphor deeply rooted in Western philosophy. (Ibid., p. 115). Spencer suggests that Leibniz borrowed the term intension from a previous use in scholastic philosophy. In the scholastic tradition, the term intensio was used in discussions of the intension and remission of forms (see, e.g., Claget 1950; Hay 1952; Shapiro 1959). In this context, intension corresponds to intensity: a quality, such as luminosity, has various degrees; when heightened it is said to be intense, when low, it is remiss. Much of the discussion of the subject by medieval philosophers such as the Oxford Merton School concentrated on attempts to give such degrees of intensity a precise mathematical expression (Grant 1977, p. 55). Clearly, as Spencer observes, Leibniz was familiar with this medieval doctrine (see, for example, Letter to Arnold Eckhard, 1677); the question is how similar Leibnizs semantic use of the term is to its earlier metaphysical sense and what, in this earlier sense, sustains such metaphorical extrapolation. Recall, Wrst, that, in its standard use, the medieval intensio stood for a heightened degree of partaking in a given quality, or form; as used by Leibniz, however, it stands for a greater degree of having qualities, constituting, in a sense, a higher-order intensio. This suggests that Leibnizs adaptation of intensio was not only metaphorical but also liberal. I argue shortly that, however this may be, the metaphor is apt but note, Wrst, that the aYnity between the two contextsthe medieval and the Leibniziancan be considered from yet another angle, which shows them to be much closer than suspected at Wrst. In the text to which Spencer refers (The New Essay, book IV, chap. 17, 8), Leibniz, like the Port-Royalists before him, emphasizes the inverse ratio between intension and extension: the concept man, for example, has lesser extension than the concept animal, but it has greater intension. Man, says Leibniz, contains more ideas and attributes than animal (including the idea animal), and more degrees of reality. No doubt, Leibnizs mentioning of degrees of reality in this context alludes to the idea that all beings participate in an ascending order of existenceLovejoys great chain of beingculminating in God, the most perfect being. As Edward Mahoney notes (Mahoney 1987, p. 21), this idea goes hand in hand with the notion of intension and remission: creatures have greater intension the more they approach God, the supreme being, who has the highest degree of perfection and existence.37 That the medieval intensio was also used in this sense provides us with an even tighter connection to Leibnizs semantic conception for it seems that here greater intension corresponds to a higher measure of inherent qualities and a higher degree of reality, a thickness of existence which matches precisely the idea behind Leibnizs use of the term. However closely Leibnizs metaphorical extrapolation was modeled after its source, it is, in any case, an apt metaphor. In Sect. 5, I argued that one of the deWning features of the extensionalist bias was the tendency to reduce the qualitative manifold to a basic set of primary qualities, and, in particular, to extensive magnitudes. An extensive continuum, it was
37

This seems to be the sense poetically employed by Milton: Let not my words oVend thee, Heavenly Power/ My maker, be propitious while I speak/ Hast thou not made me here thy substitute/ And these inferior far beneath me set?/ Among unequals what society/ Can sort, what harmony or true delight?/ Which must be mutual, in proportion due/ Given and received, but, in disparity/ The one intense, the other still remiss (Paradise Lost, 1981, XIII, pp. 380385).

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noticed, is additive and qualitatively homogeneous; it involves units that diVer in order or extent, but not in kind. Notably, the doctrine of the intension and remission of forms is a precursor of the antithetic category of intensive magnitudes. In contrast with extensive magnitudes, intensive magnitudes, such as temperature, or color, are non-additive and heterogeneous. Combining a body a of temperature X with another body b of temperature Y will not result in a third system c whose temperature, Z, is the sum of X and Y. Ditto, various degrees along the gradient are qualitatively diVerentiated, as, for example, the diVerence between a dim red hue and an intensiWed bright one. Intensive magnitudes, then, are related to non-linearity and qualitative variability (including qualitative novelty)precisely the attributes that were associated, in Sect. 6, with a modes conception of properties and with immanent forms of organization. Nor is this surprising. Forms, in the Aristotelian sense presupposed by scholastic philosophy, are constitutive of qualitative heterogeneity they are what make a speciWc piece of matter a distinguished primary substance, qualitatively distinct from other actual beings. Similarly, on a modes conception of properties, it is in virtue of exemplifying various modes that things are diVerentiated, and are qualitatively distinct from each other. Hence, Leibnizs transposition of the term intension from an old context to a new one is apt in that the semantic distinction between extension and intension reXects an older, broader, and deeper divide: that between matter and form, extensive and intensive magnitudes, quantities and qualities.

9 Conclusion (Reclaiming Aristotles Legacy) We have seen then, on both conceptual and historical grounds, that the prevalent tendency to relegate all matters intensional to the noetic realm is misguided. Not only is it the case that a clear sense can be given to the view that nature itself is irreducibly intensional, I argued that such a view is perfectly reasonable and defensible from an empirical standpoint. What seems no longer defensible, let alone compulsory, is the regulative ideal of extensionalist reductionism. In one of the deWning moments of 20th century analytic philosophy Quine (1953) urged us, in the name of scientiWc clear mindedness, to move away from what he interpreted as the ghostly remnants of Aristotelian philosophy.38 Quine perspicaciously put the Wnger on the historical and conceptual connections between meaning, the intensional factor of semantic theory, and Aristotelian philosophy, in particular the notions of form and essence;39 but if the argument presented here has any real substance, his association of scientiWc clear mindedness with radical extensionalism is clearly erroneous. It seems that the time is ripe to swing the pendulum away from our radical extensionalist heritage and back towards a conception of nature, and meaning, which Quine would no doubt condemn as overly Aristotelian.
38

In the beginning of Two dogmas of Empiricism meanings are portrayed as the ghostly remnants of the Aristotelian notion of essence (see footnote 26). It is then suggested that, once separated from the theory of reference, the theory of meaning boils down to the synonymy of linguistic forms and the analyticity of statements, while meaning themselves, as obscure intermediary entities, may well be abandoned (p. 242). Immediately after, Quine proceeds to argue that there is no informative account of synonymy or of analyticity, an argument whose conclusion is, in eVect, that there are no meanings, and that semantics must be wholly extensional.

Observe, in particular, that the medieval notion intentio, a precursor of our modern notion of intentional content, stood for a concept, or sign in the soul, representing the form of external things and was, in turn, an elaboration of Aristotles contention that the soul becomes aware of things by receiving their forms without receiving their matter (On The Soul, III, 2 425 b25).

39

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Acknowledgements Thanks are due to Mark Bickhard, Marcelo Dascal, David Martens, Scott Stapleford, and an anonymous referee of this journal.

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