In this short text, a distinguished philosopher turns his attention to one of the oldest and most fundamental philosophical problems of all: How it is that we are able to sort and classify different things as being of the same natural class? Professor Armstrong carefully sets out six major theories—ancient, modern, and contemporary—and assesses the strengths and weaknesses of each. Recognizing that there are no final victories or defeats in metaphysics, Armstrong nonetheless defends a traditional account of universals as (...) the most satisfactory theory we have.This study is written for advanced students, but as Armstrong goes considerably beyond his earlier work on this topic, it will interest professional scholars as well. Carefully plotted and clearly written, Universals is both a paradigm of exposition and a case study on the value of careful analysis of fundamental issues in philosophy. (shrink)
The author gives a critical and comprehensive study of the fundamental problem of universals in Indian Philosophy. The centre of the study is the controversy between the Nyaya-Vaisesika and the Mimamsa realists on the one hand and the Buddhist nominalists on the other. The author discusses not only the epistemological and metaphysical approach to the problem of universals but also the semantic approach made by the various systems of Indian Philosophy. In this context the view of (...) the Grammarions with special reference to Bhartrhari has been discussed in some detail. A brief but critical analysis of some of the main trends of thought on universals in Western Philosophy--beginning from Pluto to the contemporary philosophers--has also been given. Besides his scholarly and eminently readable treatment of fundamental problem of universals, the author has attempted to give his own solution of the problem. It is based on the recurrent identities and similarities which are the principles of grouping and which form the foundation of our thought and speech. (shrink)
The concepts of particular and universal have grown so familiar that their significance has become difficult to discern, like coins that have been passed back and forth too many times, worn smooth so their values can no longer be read. On the Genealogy of Universals seeks to overcome our sense of over-familiarity with these concepts by providing a case study of their evolution during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, a study that shows how the history of (...) these concepts is bound up with the origins and development of analytic philosophy itself. Understanding how these concepts were taken up, transfigured, and given up by the early analytic philosophers, enables us to recover and reanimate the debate amongst them that otherwise remains Delphic. This book begins from the early, originating texts of analytic philosophy that have hitherto baffled commentators, including Moore's early papers, and engages afresh with the neglected contributions of philosophical figures that historians of analytic philosophy have mostly since forgotten, including Stout and Whitehead. This sheds new light upon the relationships of Moore to Russell, Russell to Wittgenstein, and Wittgenstein to Ramsey. (shrink)
Are there any universal entities? Or is the world populated only by particular things? The problem of universals is one of the most fascinating and enduring topics in the history of metaphysics, with roots in ancient and medieval philosophy. This collection of new essays provides an innovative overview of the contemporary debate on universals. Rather than focusing exclusively on the traditional opposition between realism and nominalism, the contributors explore the complexity of the debate and illustrate a broad (...) range of positions within both the realist and the nominalist camps. Realism is viewed through the lens of the distinction between constituent and relational ontologies, while nominalism is reconstructed in light of the controversy over the notion of trope. The result is a fresh picture of contemporary metaphysics, in which traditional strategies of dealing with the problem of universals are both reaffirmed and called into question. (shrink)
The world contains objective causal relations and universals, both of which are intimately connected. If these claims are true, they must have far-reaching consequences, breathing new life into the theory of empirical knowledge and reinforcing epistemological realism. Without causes and universals, Professor Fales argues, realism is defeated, and idealism or scepticism wins. Fales begins with a detailed analysis of David Hume's argument that we have no direct experience of necessary connections between events, concluding that Hume was mistaken on (...) this fundamental point. Then, adopting the view of Armstrong and others that causation is grounded in a second-order relation between universals, he explores a range of topics for which the resulting analysis of causation has systematic implications. In particular, causal identity conditions for physical universals are proposed, which generate a new argument for Platonism. The nature of space and time is discussed, with arguments against backward causation and for the view that space and time can exist independently of matter or causal process. Many of Professor Fales's conclusions seem to run counter to received opinion among contemporary empiricists. Yet his method is classically empiricist in spirit, and a chief motive for these metaphysical explorations is epistemological. The final chapters investigate the perennial question of whether an empiricist, internalist and foundational epistemology can support scientific realism. (shrink)
It is well known that Charles S. Peirce's first attempt to construct a theory of metaphysical categories, already displaying the triadic pattern that would later become the keystone of his philosophy, directed itself towards the three English personal pronouns: I, IT, THOU.2 As many scholars have already noted, these three spheres of the phenomenal world identified by the young Peirce prelude to the 1867 "New List" (Quality, Relation and Representation) as well as to the later categories of Firstness, Secondness (...) and Thirdness.But apart from their documentary significance as the seed of Peircean metaphysics, the writings on I, IT and THOU also have a philosophical interest in their own right, one which deserves to .. (shrink)
IT IS ARGUED THAT LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS DOES NOT DEAL WITH\nTHE PROBLEM OF UNIVERSALS IN A SATISFACTORY WAY. THE\nCONTRIBUTIONS OF RYLE, WITTGENSTEIN AND PEARS ARE\nCONSIDERED. IT IS HELD THAT THE PROBLEM OF UNIVERSALS IS A\nGENUINE METAPHYSICAL PROBLEM AND DOES NOT ADMIT OF BEING\nDISPOSED OF BY CONCEPTUAL ANALYSIS. MOREOVER, THE FAILURE\nOF ATTEMPTS BY LINGUISTIC ANALYSTS HERE MUST CAST DOUBT ON\nTHE SOUNDNESS OF THEIR BOLD ANTIMETAPHYSICAL CLAIMS. IT IS\nCONCLUDED THAT THE PROBLEM OF UNIVERSALS IS NOT PRIMARILY\nONE OF NAMING, BUT RATHER (...) OF RESEMBLANCES. (STAFF). (shrink)
Universals are a class of mind independent entities, usually contrasted with individuals, postulated to ground and explain relations of qualitative identity and resemblance among individuals. Individuals are said to be similar in virtue of sharing universals. An apple and a ruby are both red, and their common redness results from sharing a universal. If they are both red at the same time, the universal, red, must be in two places at once. This makes universals quite different from (...) individuals, and controversial. Whether universals are in fact required to explain relations of qualitative identity and resemblance among individuals has engaged metaphysicians for two thousand years. Disputants fall into one of three broad camps. Realists endorse universals. Conceptualists and Nominalists, on the other hand, refuse to accept universals and deny that they are needed. Conceptualists explain similarity among individuals by appealing to general concepts or ideas, things that exist only in minds. Nominalists, in contrast, are content to leave relations of qualitative resemblance brute and ungrounded. Numerous versions of Nominalism have been proposed, some with a great deal of sophistication. Contemporary philosophy has seen the rise of a new form of Nominalism, one that makes use of a special class of individuals, known as tropes. Familiar individuals have many properties, but tropes are single property instances. Whether Trope Nominalism improves on earlier Nominalist theories is the subject of much recent debate. In general, questions surrounding universals touch upon some of the oldest, deepest, and most abstract of philosophical issues. (shrink)
This paper seeks to advance the horizon of Kwasi Wiredu’s philosophical defense of the compatibility of cultural universals and particulars. Wiredu reflects on language, biological identity, inter/intra cultural communication, as well as epistemic and moral fundamentals as cultural universals. In pursuing further Wiredu’s thesis on cultural universals, the present paper critically examines some of the inconsistencies implicit in Wiredu’s position. As a consequence, the paper extends the frontiers of the realm of universals by establishing the plausibility (...) of causality as another instance of a conceptual universal, transcending all cultural particularities. (shrink)
In this volume, John Bacon argues that it is difficult to deny the existence of particularized properties and relations, which in modern philosophy are sometimes called `tropes'. In so doing, he advances a powerful and sophisticated metaphysical theory according to which both ordinary particulars and properties and relations are bundles of tropes.
Universals: Loux, M. J. The existence of universals. Russell, B. The world of universals. Quine, W. V. O. On what there is. Pears, D. F. Universals. Strawson, P. F. Particular and general. Wolterstorff, N. Qualities. Bambrough, R. Universals and family resemblances. Donagan, A. Universals and metaphysical realism. Sellars, W. Abstract entities. Wolterstorff, N. On the nature of universals.--Particulars: Loux, M. J. Particulars and their individuation. Black. M. The identity of indiscernibles. Ayer, A. J. (...) The identity of indiscernibles. O'Connor, D. J. The identity of indiscernibles. Allaire, E. B. Bare particulars. Chappell, V. C. Particulars re-clothed. Allaire, E. B. Another look at bare particulars. Meiland, J. W. Do relations individuate? Long, D. C. Particulars and their qualities. Copi, I. Essence and accident. Chandler, H. S. Essence and accident. Plantinga, A. World and essence. (shrink)
The eminent Ghanaian philosopher Kwasi Wiredu confronts the paradox that while Western cultures recoil from claims of universality, previously colonized peoples, seeking to redefine their identities, insist on cultural particularities.
Table of Contents; Introduction by Francesco Orilia and Simone Gozzano; Modes and Mind by John Heil; Does Ontology Matter? by Anna-Sofia Maurin; Basic Ontology, Multiple Realizability and Mental Causation by Francesco Orilia; The “Supervenience Argument”:Kim’s Challenge to Nonreductive Physicalism by Ausonio Marras and Juhani Yli-Vakkuri; Tropes’ Simplicity and Mental Causation by Simone Gozzano; Zombies from Below by David Robb; Tropes and Perception by E. Jonathan Lowe; About the authors.
This collection of articles and review essays, including many hard to find pieces, comprises the most important and fundamental studies of Indian logic and linguistics ever undertaken. Frits Staal is concerned with four basic questions: Are there universals of logic that transcend culture and time? Are there universals of language and linguistics? What is the nature of Indian logic? And what is the nature of Indian linguistics? By addressing these questions, Staal demonstrates that, contrary to the general assumption (...) among Western philosophers, the classical philosophers of India were rationalists, attentive to arguments. They were in this respect unlike contemporary Western thinkers inspired by existentialism or hermeneutics, and like the ancient Chinese, Greeks, and many medieval European schoolmen, only--as Staal says--more so. Universals establishes that Asia's contributions are not only compatible with what has been produced in the West, but a necessary ingredient and an essential component of any future human science. (shrink)
Presented here is an argument for the existence of universals. Like Church's translation- test argument, the argument turns on considerations from intensional logic. But whereas Church's argument turns on the fine-grained informational content of intensional sentences, this argument turns on the distinctive logical features of 'that'-clauses embedded within modal contexts. And unlike Church's argument, this argument applies against truth-conditions nominalism and also against conceptualism and in re realism. So if the argument is successful, it serves as a defense of (...) full ante rem realism. The argument emphasizes the need for a unified treatment of intensional statements -- modal statements as well as statements of assertion and belief. The larger philosophical moral will be that ante rem universals are uniquely suited to carry a certain kind of modal information. Linguistic entities, mind-dependent universals, and instance-dependent universals are incapable of serving that function. (shrink)
Universals have traditionally thought to obey the identity of indiscernibles, that is, it has traditionally been thought that there can be no perfectly similar universals. But at least in the conception of universals as immanent, there is nothing that rules out there being indiscernible universals. In this paper, I shall argue that there is useful work indiscernible universals can do, and so there might be reason to postulate indiscernible universals. In particular, I shall argue (...) that postulating indiscernible universals can allow a theory of universals to identify particulars with bundles of universals, and that postulating indiscernible universals can allow a theory of universals to develop an account of the resemblance of quantitative universals that avoids the objections that Armstrong’s account faces. Finally, I shall respond to some objections and I shall undermine the criterion of distinction between particulars and universals that says that the distinction between particulars and universals lies in that while there can be indiscernible particulars, there cannot be indiscernible universals. (shrink)
Structural universals are a kind of complex universal. They have been put to work in a variety of philosophical theories but are plagued with problems concerning their compositional nature. In this article, we will discuss the following questions. What are structural universals? Why believe in them? Can we give a consistent account of their compositional nature? What are the costs of doing so?
Farhang Zabeeh. in any recognizable sense at all. This is a very common case; and the dangers are obvious, when we search for something 'identical' in all of them! 15 To say, for example, that two faces resemble each other and the second ...
Both philosophers of perception and analytic metaphysicians apply the tropes/universals distinction when considering the ontological status of visual properties. One way of arguing in favor of the trope interpretation of visual properties is to claim that the way in which we visually experience properties makes it plausible to characterize them as tropes. In this paper, I argue for a different position, namely that the way in which we visually experience properties provides a serious challenge for the trope interpretation, but (...) not for an interpretation in terms of universals. More specifically, I claim that the trope interpretations of visual properties have problems accounting for the fact that ordinary, veridical visual experiences can present the properties of two objects as strictly similar. (shrink)
This paper concerns the structure of appearances. I argue that to be appeared to in a certain way is to be aware of one or more universals. Universals therefore function like the sense-data, once highly favoured but now out of fashion. For instance, to be appeared to treely, in a visual way, is to be aware of the complex relation, being tree-shaped and tree-coloured and being in front of, a relation of a kind which could be instantiated by (...) a material object and a perceiver, which is thus instantiated in the veridical case but not in the non-veridical. (shrink)
The article argues that universals of law, i.e. the laws of nature, are the general axioms of a deductive system of all knowledge, and their deductive consequences. Universals of fact are generalisations deducible from these together with particular facts.
This is a collection of essays from an international group of scholars that explore the ways in which the ancient problem of universals was transformed in modern philosophy. Essays consider the various forms of "Platonism," "conceptualism" and "nominalism" in the writings of a broad range of modern thinkers.
In the preface to this excellent book, Fraser MacBride says he decided to write it because he had "become convinced that there is far more to find out and far more to learn from the history of early analytic philosophy". He is right; the history of early analytic philosophy holds insights for us today, and most of them lie outside of what MacBride calls our "cartoon histories." In punchy prose, he mines gems from what one of his heroes, (...) Frank Ramsey, called "that great muddle the theory of universals."The subtitle of the book carries considerable weight. This is not just a much-needed genealogy of the theory of universals and particulars. It is a re-think of the beginnings of analytic philosophy. The standard... (shrink)
On the relations of universals and particulars, by B. Russell.--Universals and resemblances, by H. H. Price.--On concept and object, by G. Frege.--Frege's hidden nominalism, by G. Bergmann.--Universals, by F. P. Ramsey.--Universals and metaphysical realism, by A. Donagan.--Universals and family resemblances, by R. Bambrough.--Particular and general, by P. F. Strawson.--The nature of universals and propositions, by G. F. Stout.--Are characteristics of particular things universal or particular? By G. E. Moore and G. F. Stout.--The relation of (...) resemblance, by P. Butchvarov.--Qualities, by N. Wolterstroff.--On what there is, by W. V. Quine.--Empiricism, semantics, and ontology, by R. Carnap.--The languages of realism and nominalism, by R. B. Brandt.--Grammar and existence: a preface to ontology, by W. Sellars.--A world of individuals, by N. Goodman.--Bibliographical notes (p. -308). (shrink)
According to strong immanent realism, proposed for instance by David M. Armstrong, universals are concrete, located in their instances. E.J. Lowe and Douglas Ehring have presented arguments to the effect that strong immanent realism is incoherent. Cody Gilmore has defended strong immanent realism against the charge of incoherence. Gilmore’s argument has thus far remained unanswered. We argue that Gilmore’s response to the charge of incoherence is an ad hoc move without support independent of strong immanent realism itself. We conclude (...) that strong immanent realism remains under the threat of incoherence posed by Lowe and Ehring. (shrink)
Cognitive definitions cannot accommodate fear as it occurs in species incapable of sophisticated cognition. Some think that fear must, therefore, be noncognitive. This paper explores another option, arguably more in line with evolutionary theory: that like other "biological universals" fear admits of variation across and within species. A paradigm case of such universals is species: it is argued that they can be defined by ostension in the manner of Putnam and Kripke without implying that they must have an (...) invariable essence. Emotions can be defined in this way too, in principle, but the theoretical understanding of homology necessary to do so is lacking at present. (shrink)
I will consider Armstrong's problems in trying to account for structural universals, i.e., a kind of complex universal whose instantiation by particulars involves different parts of those particulars instantiating several basic properties and relations, such as the property of being a molecule of methane. I present and criticise Armstrong's most recent attempt to explain structural properties by means of the identification of universals with types of states of affairs and I state my own solution to the problem by (...) appealing to formal relations holding between particulars. (shrink)
Di Bella and Schmaltz write in their introduction that the early modern problem of universals originates largely in a turn away from ancient and late-medieval problems. The modern problem, they suggest, investigates universals by asking what it means to include them as contents of our thoughts. The collection of essays that follows demonstrates persuasively, however, that we should resist the impulse, no matter how heuristic, to regard each era as having its own—much less a single—problem of universals. (...) Despite the variety and interest of other contributions to the collection, I focus here on essays that display greater continuity among the eras, and on two essays addressing thinkers whose position on... (shrink)
In the latter half of the 19th century, economic thought in the Germanspeaking world was dominated, both intellectually and academically, by the so-called historical school, from Wilhelm Roscher to Gustav Schmoller and others. In 1871, the Austrian Carl Menger published his Grun&tze der Volkswirtschaftslehre (Menger, 1976 (1871)), customarily referred to as one of the three simultaneous discoveries of marginalist economics-the other two marginalist ‘revolutionaries’ being Jevons in England and Walras in France. Twelve years later, in 1883, Menger published a major (...) methodological treatise entitled Untersuchungen iiber die Methode der Socialwissenschaften und der Politischen Oekonomie insbesondere (Menger, 1963 (1883)). This book included criticisms of some of the historicist principles of doing economics. In the same year, Schmoller, leader of the German historicists, wrote a critical review of Menger’s book (Schmoller, 1883). Menger reacted forcefully with a more straightforwardly polemical small book, Die Irrthiimer des Historismus in der deutschen National6konomie (Menger, 1884). Commentaries by others appeared in later years, but this brief episode amounted to what has thereafter been called the Methodenstreit between Menger and Schmoller. It has been established as perhaps the most famous methodological controversy in the history of the social sciences. (shrink)
Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra offers a fresh philosophical account of properties. How is it that two different things (such as two red roses) can share the same property (redness)? According to resemblance nominalism, things have their properties in virtue of resembling other things. This unfashionable view is championed with clarity and rigor.
This writing is part of a body of reflections about the ‘researching programs’ and ‘categories’ used in philosophy, philology and linguistics to explain human language. Within this framework, several categories like Modell, Vorbild and Paradigm are covered from a descriptive sense according to the ‘Wittgenstein’ research program. From Russell’s conception of language, there is a treatment to the prescriptive aspects of Plato’s ideas and their relation to universals. Then, the universal category in the predicament act and the denotation (...) act are linked proposing their relation with notions such as ‘knowledge’ and ‘truth’. Therefore some concerns, shared by Russell and Wittgenstein about a philosophical grammar, are pointed out for the expression of human understanding. (shrink)
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