The Essentialist Nominalism of John Burdian

Review of Metaphysics 58 (4):739 - 754 (2005)
To many contemporary philosophers, the phrase “essentialist nominalism” may appear to be an oxymoron. After all, essentialism is the doctrine that things come in natural kinds characterized by their essential properties, on account of some common nature or essence they share. But nominalism is precisely the denial of the existence, indeed, the very possibility of such shared essences. Nevertheless, despite the intuitions of such contemporary philosophers,2 John Buridan was not only a thoroughgoing nominalist, as is well-known, but also a staunch defender of a strong essentialist doctrine against certain skeptics of his time. But then the question inevitably arises: could he consistently maintain such a doctrine?
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