David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Mind 114 (455):565-614 (2005)
Is the assumption of a fundamental <span class='Hi'>distinction</span> between particulars and universals another unsupported dogma of metaphysics? F. P. Ramsey famously rejected the <span class='Hi'>particular</span>–<span class='Hi'>universal</span> <span class='Hi'>distinction</span> but neglected to consider the many different conceptions of the <span class='Hi'>distinction</span> that have been advanced. As a contribution to the (inevitably) piecemeal investigation of this issue three interrelated conceptions of the <span class='Hi'>particular</span>–<span class='Hi'>universal</span> <span class='Hi'>distinction</span> are examined: (i) universals, by contrast to particulars, are unigrade; (ii) particulars are related to universals by an asymmetric tie of exemplification; (iii) universals are incomplete whereas particulars are complete. It is argued that these conceptions are wanting in several respects. Sometimes they fail to mark a significant division amongst entities. Sometimes they make substantial demands upon the shape of reality; once these demands are understood aright it is no longer obvious that the <span class='Hi'>distinction</span> merits our acceptance. The case is made via a discussion of the possibility of multigrade universals.
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