The Importance of ‘Being Earnest’ (B. Schnieder)

Published in Philosophical Quarterly 57 (2007), 40–55.

Abstract: Reference to properties is normally achieved by the use of nomi­na­li­za­tions of predicative expressions. The article examines the relation between different kinds of such nominalizations: while traditionally, the terms ‘wisdom’ and ‘the property of being wise’ were thought to be corefe­ren­tial, there are certain contexts in which they do not seem to be interchangeable salva veritate. Based on this observation, Friederike Moltmann recently developed a theory according to which abstract nouns such as ‘wisdom’ do not refer to properties. It is argued that her theory is flawed and that the existence of the problematic contexts should be explained in non-referential terms.