If you’re interested in metaphysics, you’ve probably come across the term “trope” before. But what exactly does it mean? In this article, we’ll explore the definition of a trope in metaphysics and why it’s an important concept to understand.

What is Metaphysics?

Before we dive into tropes, it’s important to establish what we mean by “metaphysics.” At its core, metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of reality. It asks questions like: What exists?

What is the nature of existence? What is causation? These are big, abstract questions that have been debated by philosophers for centuries.

Defining Tropes

So where do tropes fit into all of this? Simply put, a trope is a particular instance or manifestation of a property.

For example, redness is a property that can be instantiated in various ways – a red apple, a red car, etc. Each instantiation of redness would be considered a trope.

Tropes are often contrasted with universals. Universals are properties that can be instantiated by multiple objects – for example, the property of being human applies to all humans. Tropes, on the other hand, are specific to individual objects or instances.

Why Are Tropes Important?

So why should we care about tropes? One reason is that they help us make sense of how properties relate to objects in the world. If we only had universals to work with, it would be difficult to explain how different objects can share the same property without reducing them to some kind of abstract Platonic form.

Tropes also help us understand how objects can have multiple properties at once. For example, an apple could be both red and round – these are two separate tropes that coexist within the same object.

Types of Tropes

There are many different types of tropes that have been identified by philosophers. Here are a few examples:


Tropes may seem like a small and esoteric concept within metaphysics, but they play an important role in helping us understand how properties and objects relate to each other. By recognizing the existence of tropes, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the complexity and richness of the world around us.