On Russell's argument against resemblance nominalism

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (4):549 – 560 (2003)
Abstract
Russell famously argued that Resemblance Nominalism leads to a vicious infinite regress in attempting to avoid admitting universals. Saying that a number of things are white only in that they resemble a particular white thing leaves a number of resemblances to that white thing, each of them constituting the holding of the same relation to the paradigm, qualifying that resemblance relation as a universal. Trying to dismiss that new universal by appeal to resemblances between those first resemblances only leads to a new universal of resemblance, and so on. It is argued here that this does not arise for a properly formulated resemblance theory, which only requires one complex relation among the many particulars we deal with, a complex relation which is not multiply instantiated and thus not a universal.
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