A Theory of Universals: Volume 2: Universals and Scientific by D. M. Armstrong

By D. M. Armstrong

It is a examine, in volumes, of 1 of the longest-standing philosophical difficulties: the matter of universals. In quantity I David Armstrong surveys and criticizes the most ways and strategies to the issues which have been canvassed, rejecting some of the different types of nominalism and 'Platonic' realism. In quantity II he develops a tremendous conception of his personal, an target conception of universals dependent now not on linguistic conventions, yet at the real and strength findings of normal technological know-how. He therefore reconciles a realism approximately features and relatives with an empiricist epistemology. the idea permits, too, for a powerful rationalization of typical legislation as family members among those universals.

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But the items that agree in attribute, according to the realist, all exemplify some one universal; and, on the realist’s account, the general term that marks a given case of attribute agreement expresses or connotes precisely the same universal that supports or grounds that case of attribute agreement. So we have an account of predication that goes hand in hand with our account of attribute agreement, and the two accounts mesh in just the way they must if we are to provide a satisfactory account of subject-predicate truth.

Certainly the issues on which the debate has turned are as important as any in metaphysics. We need to become clear on these issues, and we will begin by attempting to delineate the main contours of the perspective labeled metaphysical realism. The Ontology of Metaphysical Realism Metaphysical realists want to insist that an adequate account of attribute agreement presupposes a distinction between two types or categories of objects: what are called particulars and what are called universals. The category of particulars includes what the nonphilosopher typically thinks of as “things”—familiar concrete objects like human beings, animals, plants, and inanimate material bodies; and the realist tells us that what is peculiar to particulars is that each occupies a single region of space at a given time.

Accordingly, each of these sentences can be true only if the universal named by the constituent abstract term exists. And, of course, there are many other such sentences; and like our sample sentences, their truth presupposes the existence of the universals the intuitive account takes to be the referents of their constituent abstract singular terms. But obviously many such sentences are true, and only the metaphysical 28 The Problem of Universals I realist, only the philosopher who holds that universals exist, can tell us how this is possible.

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A Theory of Universals: Volume 2: Universals and Scientific by D. M. Armstrong
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