On Events: Individuation, Exemplification, and Instantiation. This paper examines several philosophical concepts related to events and event substantiation.

Essay by narcomaniaA+, March 2003

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Antone S. Perreira


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On Events: Individuation, Exemplification, and Instantiation

Was Brutus's killing of Caesar a singular event, or in fact a plurality of events taken in context to one another? The concept, and ontological implications of answering this question are vast, and present philosophers with an array of possibilities in exploring the nature and metaphysical breadth of events. General consensus has been reached on the subject relative to the characterization of events as tropes, or property-instances; in essence, the realization of property-substance qualities that translate some sort of broad interaction into an existential present-tense framework. Problems arise when attempting to draw any substantial inference from the aforementioned generality about events. Are we to accept identity properties for classification purposes? Or, more likely, are we to attempt an isolation of each individual event instance based on the adoption of a cause-and-effect type analysis? Interestingly enough, verisimilitude exists in referring to either account of events as valid, but perhaps more clarity may be attained by combining relative aspects of each into a cogent analysis of events.

Kim's essay on property exemplification of events is and excellent reference for beginning just such an analysis, combined with exposition on Davidson regarding event individuation. Finally, given the contrast between Kim and Davidson, an exploration of possible multi-dimensional existential factors may help improve the conceptual understanding of events within a general ontological structure.

Understanding the multitude of possibilities in connecting universal properties with individual instances is essential for any progress to be made in the deciphering of events. Apparently, any reference to a situation as an event invokes the idea of change across time in an object or substance, and a reorganization within the duration of such a period of the properties inherent to given objects. Kim acknowledges this characterization somewhat carefully, begging...