This chapter analyzes the explanation of resemblance provided by the twelfth-century Latin philosopher Gilbert of Poitiers. As Gilbert holds that everything that exists is particular and rejects immanent universals, he is in need of an explanation for the resemblance of co-specific properties. His solution stems from a complex consideration of exact resemblance, which he calls ‘conformitas,’ based upon a thorough reflection about properties, as for him, only properties and not individuals can be exactly similar. In order to discuss his theory of resemblance, the chapter first offers a reconstruction of the main tenets of Gilbert’s particularist ontology; it argues that Gilbert can adequately be categorized as a trope theorist. Gilbert analyzes the metaphysical constitution of an individual as a set of hierarchically organized co-present tropes, starting from an essential nucleus. For Gilbert, a universal is a collection of properties gathered on the basis of resemblance. At the end of the chapter, the possible role of divine ideas in his explanation of resemblance is discussed.
Keywords Gilbert of Poitiers, ontological particularism, universals, properties, tropes, nucleus, exact resemblance, divine ideas
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DOI 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718468.003.0001
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