J. P. Moreland
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 193
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Universals begins with a taxonomy of extreme nominalist, moderate nominalist, and realist positions on properties, outlining the way each handles the phenomena of predication, resemblance, and abstract reference. The debate about properties and philosophical naturalism is also examined. Different forms of extreme nominalism and minimalist realism are critiqued. Later chapters defend a traditional realist view of universals and examine the objections to realism from various infinite regresses, the difficulties in stating identity conditions for properties, and problems with realist accounts of knowledge of abstract objects. The debate between Platonists and Aristotelians is examined in the context of the relationship between properties and an adequate theory of existence. The book's final chapter explores the problem of individuating particulars. Universals makes a difficult topic accessible while maintaining the sophistication of argument required by a more advanced readership, providing an authoritative treatment of the subject for both students and scholars.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8354-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface and acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
    J. P. Moreland
  4. 1 The preblem(s) of universals
    (pp. 1-22)

    Along with the metaphysics of substance, the problem of universals is the paradigm case of a perennial issue in the history of philosophy. The problem of universals is actually a set of related issues involving the ontological status of properties. Prima facie, it would seem that properties exist. Indeed, one of the most obvious facts about the world is that it consists of individual things that have properties and that stand in relations to other things.¹ It would also seem that several objects can have the same property; for example, several things can possess the same shade of red. But...

  5. 2 Extreme nominalism and properties
    (pp. 23-49)

    Realists claim to have a straightforward analysis of predication/exemplification, resemblance and abstract reference and they place burden of proof on extreme and moderate nominalists to offer equally plausible accounts. Extreme nominalists deny the existence properties altogether and offer the following reductive analysis:

    ais F ↔ Q

    Different versions of extreme nominalism (EN) spell out Q in different ways. Five such versions are predominant. Predicate extreme nominalists analyse Q as “afalls under ‘F’” or “‘F’ correctly applies toa”. Concept extreme nominalists take Q as “afalls under the concept F” or “the concept F correctly applies toa”....

  6. 3 Moderate nominalism and properties
    (pp. 50-73)

    In Chapter 2, reasons were given for thinking that extreme nominalism is an inadequate view of properties. However, even if this is correct, it would be premature to conclude that properties are universals because moderate nominalism - the view that properties exist and are abstract particulars - is a live option. On this view, Socrates and Plato each has its own redness, red₁ and red₂, respectively, and red₁ and red₂ are individualized properties. In this century, the three most prominent moderate nominalists have been G. F. Stout, D. C. Williams and Keith Campbell. Rather than analysing moderate nominalist treatments of...

  7. 4 Minimalist realism: Wolterstorfff’s kinds and Armstrong’s properties
    (pp. 74-96)

    In Chapter 2, reasons were given for rejecting extreme nominalism (EN). Among other things, EN is what has been called a blob theory regarding concrete particulars. A blob theory of ordinary concrete particulars is consistent with a mereological analysis of those particulars as wholes constituted by separable parts; but a blob theory renders concrete particulars structureless entities with no internal differentiation of properties and relations within those concrete particulars. In this sense, EN treats concrete particulars as simples and thereby fails to acknowledge that the redness, circularity, size and other features of Socrates are real entities that are neither identical...

  8. 5 Traditional realism: properties are abstract objects
    (pp. 97-113)

    In Chapters 2 and 3, reasons were given for rejecting extreme and moderate nominalist analyses of properties and property instances. This provided justification for the claim that a realist analysis is the correct one. However, in Chapter 4 it became evident that there are different positions that claim to be realist ones. And two of those positions - Wolterstorff’s and Armstrong’s - were found to have serious problems sufficient to justify the search for a more adequate solution to the problem of universals. In this chapter, the focus will be two-fold. First, an analysis of the traditional realist construal of...

  9. 6 Traditional realism: issues and objections
    (pp. 114-139)

    In Chapters 2 and 3, reasons were given for preferring realism over both schools of nominalism. In Chapters 4 and 5, different versions of realism were analysed, and traditional realism was clarified and defended. Still, there are objections to realism - traditional or otherwise - yet to be considered. Moreover, intriguing topics surface in developing a mature realist position on properties and their instances. It is impossible to cover all the relevant topics in one short chapter or, indeed, in one book. So the discussion to follow will be limited to subjects that regularly arise in the literature and that...

  10. 7 The individuation of particulars
    (pp. 140-157)

    In recent years, a growing number of philosophers have appealed to various individuative entities (e.g. tropes or Leibnizian essences) to solve a specific philosophical problem. Moreover, the problem of individuation is an essential aspect of the problem of universals. For these reasons, it is important to be clear on issues and options in the problem of individuation. In this chapter, the problem of individuation will be clarified, two solutions will be analysed and bare particulars will be defended as the best answer.

    The notion of a problem of individuation has come to be used for a wide variety of different,...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 158-169)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 170-180)
  13. Index
    (pp. 181-184)