What Is a Property Metaphysics?


Jane Flores

Property metaphysics refers to the study of properties and how they relate to the world around us. In simple terms, it is an area of metaphysics that deals with the nature of properties, their existence, and their relationship with other objects.

The concept of property in metaphysics

In metaphysics, a property is considered an attribute or quality that an object possesses. For example, the color of a flower or the weight of a rock are properties that are associated with those objects. These properties can be either intrinsic or extrinsic.

An intrinsic property is a property that belongs to an object itself and does not depend on any external factors. For example, the shape of a circle is an intrinsic property as it does not change regardless of its position or environment.

On the other hand, extrinsic properties are those that depend on external factors such as time, location, or other objects. For example, the weight of a rock is an extrinsic property because it can vary depending on its location.

Theories of Property Metaphysics

There are several theories in property metaphysics that attempt to explain how properties exist and interact with each other:

Bundle Theory

According to this theory, objects do not possess inherent properties; instead, they are just collections or bundles of properties. For instance, a chair is just a bundle of various qualities such as color, shape, and size.

Dispositional Theory

This theory posits that some properties only manifest themselves under certain conditions. For instance, fragility is a dispositional property- it only shows when an object breaks when pressure is applied.

Universals Theory

This theory states that properties exist independently from individual objects; they have their own existence as universal entities. According to this theory, colors like redness exist whether there’s something red around or not.

The relationship between properties and objects

Properties are closely related to the objects that possess them. However, the exact nature of this relationship is still a matter of debate among philosophers.

Some philosophers argue that properties are essential to objects- they make up the very essence of what an object is. For example, the color red is an essential property of a stop sign; without it, it would not be recognizable as a stop sign.

Others argue that properties are accidental- they are not necessary for the existence of an object but rather add some features or qualities. For example, if you remove all the petals from a flower, it will still exist as an object even though its beauty has diminished.


In conclusion, property metaphysics is a fascinating field that explores how properties exist and relate to other objects in our world. Whether you believe that properties are essential or accidental to objects or that they exist independently as universal entities, there’s no denying their importance in understanding the nature of our reality.