Russell on the Relations of Universals and Particulars

Philosophy Research Archives 9:265-278 (1983)
Abstract
In his 1911 paper, “On the Relations of Universals and Particulars,” Bertrand Russell supposes the question whether universals are spatial or non spatial turns on the question of the existence of particulars. If particulars could be shown to exist, then since, according to Russell, they obviously are spatial, the non-spatiality of universals would be established. On the other hand, the denial of the existence of particulars would entail the spatiality of universals.In this paper, I argue that Russell’s claim is plausible only if particulars are construed either as quality instances or as ordinary objects. If, however, particulars are either substrata or collections of qualities, nothing follows in regard to the spatiality or the non-spatiality of universals. Since the alternative interpretations of particularity are, I contend, at least as attractive as Russell’s, his failure to consider them makes his position less interesting than it might otherwise have been
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