The Monist 61 (3):401-407 (1978)

Richard Grandy
Rice University
Ockham’s criticisms of earlier theories of universals depend on the fact that they are universals, that the supposed entities are essentially different in kind from particulars. Since modern theories which postulate the existence of senses or propositions as part of a semantic theory make no such claims about those entities it would seem that Ockham’s views are irrelevant to disputes over the value of those semantic theories. That is, for Frege, Church and others the senses or propositions postulated are not claimed to be universal in the traditional medieval sense, but are rather abstract objects which in the theory are treated as particulars exactly on a par with rocks, tables and numbers. However, if one considers Ockham’s positive theory of language it becomes clear that his views are at odds with modern abstract semantic accounts just as much as they were with the traditional universalist semantic accounts.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind  Philosophy of Science
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ISBN(s) 0026-9662
DOI monist197861324
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