Universals
Strawson (Peter)
Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

    The issue between nominalists and realists is unlikely ever to be rationally resolved. Currently favoured tests, leaning on the notions of reference and identity, do not yield a clear-cut way of resolving the issue. There is no neutral vantage-point from which to determine whether the notion of existence should be restricted to what is found in nature or should be extended to include objects of thought exemplifiable but not locatable in nature. The existence of universals1 (general properties or kinds) is disputed because of fears of myth-making, and argued against on the grounds that they are dispensable as objects of reference and that they lack general principles of identity. Ripostes: they are unavoidable as objects of thought, and each, as essence, is its own individual principle of identity. The fundamental ground of the continuing dispute is the strong human disposition to believe that to exist at all is to exist as an object in time in the natural world; whereas universals2 are abstract objects of thought, exemplified in the natural world and related inter se by conceptual necessities.

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