Instantiation principle

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The principle of instantiation or principle of exemplification is the concept in metaphysics and logic that there can be no uninstantiated or unexemplified properties (or universals). In other words, it is impossible for a property to exist which is not had by some object. Aristotle is well known for endorsing the principle and Plato for denying it.[citation needed]

Consider a chair. Presumably chairs did not exist 150,000 years ago. Thus, according to the Principle of Instantiation, the property of being a chair did not exist 150,000 years ago either. Similarly (and assuming objects are colored), if all red objects were to suddenly go out of existence, then the property of being red would likewise go out of existence.

Those who endorse the principle of instantiation are known as in re realists or "immanent realists".[1]


  1. ^ Loux, Michael (2006). "Aristotle's Constituent Ontology". In Zimmerman, Dean W. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics (paperback) (book). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-929058-1. Retrieved 2012-06-25.