Universals

Edited by Gabriele Contessa (Carleton University)
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  1. Figure..Stephen Lester Thompson - manuscript
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  2. Qualia and the Problem of Universals.Mark Sharlow - 2007
    In this paper I explore the logical relationship between the question of the reality of qualia and the problem of universals. I argue that nominalism is inconsistent with the existence of qualia, and that realism either implies or makes plausible the existence of qualia. Thus, one's position on the existence of qualia is strongly constrained by one's answer to the problem of universals.
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  3. Recognizing Intentions in Infant-Directed Speech: Evidence for Universals.H. Clark Barrett With Bryant & A. G. - manuscript
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  4. Some Questions About the Exemplification Tie Between Universals and Particulars.Jeff Grupp - unknown - Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 21.
    A connection between things and properties is required to hold things and properties together. Exemplification is such a connection. Exemplification is usually considered primitive, and therefore analysis of exemplification is nearly absent from the literature. I maintain that exemplification might not be primitive; and in giving a description of exemplification, I point out a new problem having to do with the issue of how things are tied to properties.
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  5. Predicazione, anafora e proprietà.Francesco F. Calemi - forthcoming - Paradigmi.
    Many realists and nominalists, guided by a specific interpretation of the nature of the debate concerning the existence of properties, agree in holding that predicative sentences of the form «a is F» – whereas the schematic letters «a» and «F» stand for, respectively, a name of a particular and a general term –, taken by themselves alone, don’t commit us to the existence of properties. In this paper I’ll take into account the main versions of realism and nominalism that assume (...)
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  6. An Argument Against Aristotelian Universals.Damiano Costa - forthcoming - Synthese.
    I provide an argument against the Aristotelian view of universals, according to which universals depend for their existence on their exemplifiers. The argument consists in a set of five jointly inconsistent assumptions. As such, the argument can be used to argue in favour of other conclusions, such as that exemplification is no relation or that plausible principles concerning ontological dependence or grounding do not hold.
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  7. The Multi-Location Trilemma.Damiano Costa & Claudio Calosi - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-17.
    The possibility of multilocation --- of one entity having more than one exact location --- is required by several metaphysical theories such as the immanentist theory of universals and three-dimensionalism about persistence. One of the most pressing challenges for multi-location theorists is that of making sense of exact location --- in that extant definitions of exact location entail a principle called Functionality, according to which nothing can have more than one exact location. Recently in a number of promising papers, Antony (...)
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  8. Nominalist Relationalism About Ontological Categories and Forms.Jani Hakkarainen - forthcoming - In Javier Cumpa (ed.), Categorial Ontologies. Routledge.
    In this paper, I first argue for a relational account of the concept of ontological form and its difference from being. The former is explicated by the concepts of character-neutral internal relation and existence or being and that the ontological forms of entities consist in these formal ontological relations in which the entities stand. Secondly, I apply this account to ontological categories and their membership-determination, existence and reality. Here I also defend a relational view that categories are construed as pluralities (...)
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  9. The Fundamentality and Non-Fundamentality of Ontological Categories.Jani Hakkarainen - forthcoming - In Miroslaw Szatkowski (ed.), Jonathan Lowe and Ontology. Routledge.
    In this paper, I propose a solution to an almost ignored problem in metaphysics and metametaphysics: what is categorial fundamentality and non-fundamentality? My proposal builds on E. J. Lowe’s view on the issue. By means of the newcomer notion of generic identity, I can give an account of something that Lowe did not explicate: the constitution of formal ontolog- ical relations. Formal ontological relations (e.g. instantiation) are internal relations that deter- mine ontological form and category-membership. I argue that categorial fundamentality (...)
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  10. Paraphrasing Away Properties with Pluriverse Counterfactuals.Jack Himelright - forthcoming - Synthese:1-20.
    In this paper, I argue that for the purposes of ordinary reasoning, sentences about properties of concrete objects can be replaced with sentences concerning how things in our universe would be related to inscriptions were there a pluriverse. Speaking loosely, pluriverses are composites of universes that collectively realize every way a universe could possibly be. As such, pluriverses exhaust all possible meanings that inscriptions could take. Moreover, because universes necessarily do not influence one another, our universe would not be any (...)
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  11. Classifications.Ludger Jansen - forthcoming - Applied Ontology: An Introduction.
    It has long been a standard practice for the natural sciences to classify things. Thus, it is no wonder that, for two and a half millennia, philosophers have been reflecting on classifications, from Plato and Aristotle to contemporary philosophy of science. Some of the results of these reflections will be presented in this chapter. I will start by discussing a parody of a classification, namely: the purportedly ancient Chinese classification of animals described by Jorge Luis Borges. I will show that (...)
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  12. Gersonides and Spinoza on God’s Knowledge of Universals and Particulars.Yitzhak Melamed - forthcoming - In Gad Freudenthal, David Wirmer & Ofer Elior (eds.), Gersonides Through the Ages.
  13. A Dilemma About Kinds and Kind Terms.T. Parent - forthcoming - Synthese:1-20.
    'The kind Lion' denotes a kind. Yet many generics are thought to denote kinds also, like the subject-terms in 'The lion has a mane', 'Dinosaurs are extinct', and 'The potato was cultivated in Ireland by the end of the 17th century.' This view may be adequate for the linguist's overall purposes--however, if we limit our attention to the theory of reference, it seems unworkable. The problem is that what is often predicated of kinds is not what is predicated of the (...)
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  14. A Problem for Immanent Universals in States of Affairs.Michael J. Raven - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    This paper raises a problem for the pair of views that universals are immanent in their instantiations and that these instantiations, or states of affairs, are somehow constructed from the instantiated universals. It is argued that the pair is inconsistent. The first view implies that universals are prior to states of affairs, whereas the second view implies that states of affairs are prior to universals. This paper does not attempt to solve this problem, but rather to formulate it precisely. That (...)
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  15. Higher-Order Metaphysics and the Tropes Versus Universals Dispute.Lukas Skiba - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Higher-order realists about properties express their view that there are properties with the help of higher-order rather than first-order quantifiers. They claim two types of advantages for this way of formulating property realism. First, certain gridlocked debates about the nature of properties, such as the immanentism versus transcendentalism dispute, are taken to be dissolved. Second, a further such debate, the tropes versus universals dispute, is taken to be resolved. In this paper I first argue that higher-order realism does not in (...)
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  16. Tropes, Universals and Visual Phenomenology.Błażej Skrzypulec - 2021 - Theoria 87 (2):435-456.
    Both philosophers of perception and analytic metaphysicians apply the tropes/universals distinction when considering the ontological status of visual properties. One way of arguing in favor of the trope interpretation of visual properties is to claim that the way in which we visually experience properties makes it plausible to characterize them as tropes. In this paper, I argue for a different position, namely that the way in which we visually experience properties provides a serious challenge for the trope interpretation, but not (...)
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  17. Platonism and the Objects of Science.Scott Berman - 2020 - London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic.
  18. COVID-19: Approaching the In-Human.Jack Black - 2020 - Contours: Journal of the SFU Humanities Institute (10):1-10.
    What the COVID-19 pandemic serves to reveal is the inherent limitations and contradictions of a symbolic order that must now be perceived via an “impossible subjectivity”: what this essay will refer to as the “in-human.” (Zizek, 2020). Indeed, this in-human perspective transpires not through our fetishization of the virus, as some form of justification for humanity’s impact on the world, but from a position of impossibility that renders “the whole situation into which we are included.” (Monbiot, 2020; Zizek, 2020). It (...)
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  19. Divine Drama or Divine Disclosure? Hell, Universalism, and a Parting of the Ways.Roberto J. De La Noval - 2020 - Modern Theology 36 (1):201-210.
  20. Abstracta and Abstraction in Trope Theory.A. R. J. Fisher - 2020 - Philosophical Papers 49 (1):41-67.
    Trope theory is a leading metaphysical theory in analytic ontology. One of its classic statements is found in the work of Donald C. Williams who argued that tropes qua abstract particulars are the very alphabet of being. The concept of an abstract particular has been repeatedly attacked in the literature. Opponents and proponents of trope theory alike have levelled their criticisms at the abstractness of tropes and the associated act of abstraction. In this paper I defend the concept of a (...)
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  21. D.M. Armstrong: Sydney's Most Distinguished Philosopher: Life and Work.James Franklin - 2020 - Sydney Realist 41:1-6.
    David Armstrong (1926-2014) was much the most internationally successful philosopher to come from Sydney. His life moved from a privileged Empire childhood and student of John Anderson to acclaimed elder statesman of realist philosophy. His philosophy developed from an Andersonian realist inheritance to major contributions on materialist theory of mind and the theory of universals. His views on several other topics such as religion and ethics are surveyed briefly.
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  22. The One Over Many Principle of Republic 596a.José Edgar González-Varela - 2020 - Apeiron 53 (4):339-361.
    Republic 596a introduces a One over Many principle that has traditionally been considered as an argument for the existence of Forms, according to which, one Form should be posited for each like-named plurality. This interpretation was challenged by (Smith, J. A. 1917. “General Relative Clauses in Greek.” Classical Review 31: 69–71.), who interpreted it rather as a statement that each Form is unique and correlated to a plurality of things that have the same name as it. (Sedley, D. 2013. “Plato (...)
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  23. Platonic Laws of Nature.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (3):365-381.
    David Armstrong accepted the following three theses: universals are immanent, laws are relations between universals, and laws govern. Taken together, they form an attractive position, for they promise to explain regularities in nature—one of the most important desiderata for a theory of laws and properties—while remaining compatible with naturalism. However, I argue that the three theses are incompatible. The basic idea is that each thesis makes an explanatory claim, but the three claims can be shown to run in a problematic (...)
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  24. Properties.Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    2020 update of the entry "Properties".
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  25. Against Conjunctive Properties.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Acta Analytica 35:421-437.
    I put in question in this article the existence of conjunctive properties. In the second section, after having provided a characterization of conjunctive properties, I develop an argument based on the principle of ontological parsimony: if we accept that there are conjunctive properties in the universe then, ceteris paribus, our ontology turns out to be less ontologically parsimonious than if we reject them. Afterwards, in the third section, I distinguish between maximalist and non-maximalist and reductionist and non-reductionist theories of conjunctive (...)
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  26. Emergence and Structural Properties.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Synthese:1-24.
    I present in this article a new theory of structural properties or, more precisely, of structural kinds, such as being methane. According to this theory, structural kinds are kinds that are both emergent and sustained in their existence. In the first section, I introduce structural properties and four problems that affect the most widely held conception of them, namely, the pictorial conception. In the second section, I introduce some theses about emergence, powers, emergent powers, relations and structures that I have (...)
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  27. Searching for a Universal Ethic: Multidisciplinary, Ecumenical, and Interfaith Responses to the Catholic Natural Law Tradition. Edited by John Berkman and William C. MattisonIII. Pp. Xi, 327. Grand Rapids/Cambridge, Eerdmans, 2014, £23.99/$35.00. [REVIEW]Patrick Riordan - 2020 - Heythrop Journal 61 (2):362-364.
  28. Replies.Barbara Vetter - 2020 - Philosophical Inquiries 1 (8):199-222.
    This paper responds to the contributions by Alexander Bird, Nathan Wildman, David Yates, Jennifer McKitrick, Giacomo Giannini & Matthew Tugby, and Jennifer Wang. I react to their comments on my 2015 book Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality, and in doing so expands on some of the arguments and ideas of the book.
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  29. Partial Resemblance and Property Immanence.Paul Audi - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):884-903.
  30. Nominalism.Ghislain Guigon - 2019 - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    ‘Nominalism’ refers to a family of views about what there is. The objects we are familiar with (e.g. hands, laptops, cookies, and trees) can be characterized as concrete and particular. Nominalists agree that there are such things. But one group of nominalists denies that anything is non-particular and another group denies that anything is non-concrete. These two sorts of nominalism, referred to as ‘nominalism about universals’ and ‘nominalism about abstract objects’, have common motivations in contemporary philosophy.
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  31. Bundle Theory with Kinds.Markku Keinänen & Tuomas E. Tahko - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (277):838-857.
    Is it possible to get by with just one ontological category? We evaluate L.A. Paul's attempt to do so: the mereological bundle theory. The upshot is that Paul's attempt to construct a one category ontology may be challenged with some of her own arguments. In the positive part of the paper we outline a two category ontology with property universals and kind universals. We will also examine Paul's arguments against a version of universal bundle theory that takes spatiotemporal co-location instead (...)
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  32. Temporary and Contingent Instantiation as Partial Identity.Donald L. M. Baxter - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (5):763-780.
    ABSTRACT An apparent objection against my theory of instantiation as partial identity is that identity is necessary, yet instantiation is often contingent. To rebut the objection, I show how it can make sense that identity is contingent. I begin by showing how it can make sense that identity is temporary. I rely heavily on Andre Gallois’s formal theory of occasional identity, but argue that there is a gap in his explanation of how his formalisms make sense that needs to be (...)
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  33. The Problem of Universal and the Asymmetry of Instantiation.Donald L. M. Baxter - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (2):189-202.
    Oliver's and Rodriguez-Pereyra's important interpretation of the problem of universals as one concerning truthmakers neglects something crucial: that there is a numerical identity between numerically distinct particulars. The problem of universals is rather how to resolve the apparent contradiction that the same things are both numerically distinct and numerically identical. Baxter's account of instantiation as partial identity resolves the apparent contradiction. A seeming objection to this account is that it appears to make instantiation symmetric, since partial identity is symmetric. Armstrong's (...)
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  34. The Repeatability Argument and the Non-Extensional Bundle Theory.Matteo Benocci - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):432-446.
    ABSTRACTI present a new objection to Bundle Theory. The objection rests on the repeatability of universals, and targets every version of Bundle Theory that assumes that concrete particulars constituted by the same universals are numerically identical. The only way that bundle theorists can elude this objection is to admit the possibility of distinct bundles constituted by the same universals. If even this view is untenable, then Bundle Theory as such is hopeless. Finally, I show how the present inquiry reshapes the (...)
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  35. Structural Universals.A. R. J. Fisher - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (10):e12518.
    Structural universals are a kind of complex universal. They have been put to work in a variety of philosophical theories but are plagued with problems concerning their compositional nature. In this article, we will discuss the following questions. What are structural universals? Why believe in them? Can we give a consistent account of their compositional nature? What are the costs of doing so?
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  36. The Elements and Patterns of Being: Essays in Metaphysics.A. R. J. Fisher (ed.) - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    Donald C. Williams was a key figure in the development of analytic philosophy. This book will be the definitive source for his highly original work, which did much to bring metaphysics back into fashion. It presents six classic papers and six previously unpublished, revealing his full philosophical vision for the first time.
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  37. Metaphysics and Scientific Realism: Essays in Honour of David Malet Armstrong, Edited by Francesco F. Calemi: Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016, Pp. Vii + 262, US$112. [REVIEW]James Franklin - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):183-186.
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  38. A Reason for the Non-Specialist to Care About the Metaphysics of Properties and Persistence.Daniel Giberman - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (2):162-177.
    We have compelling extra-philosophical reasons for caring about identity, parthood, and location. For example, we desire ceteris paribus that nothing every part of which is very near to our location be very near to the location of something dangerous, evil, or otherwise unpleasant. This essay argues that such considerations are relevant to certain first-order metaphysical debates, namely, the debates over immanent universals and tropes and endurantism and perdurantism, respectively. As a consequence, even the non-specialist has a reason to care about (...)
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  39. The Razor Argument of Metaphysics A.9.José Edgar González-Varela - 2018 - Phronesis 63 (4):408-448.
    I discuss Aristotle’s opening argument against Platonic Forms in _Metaphysics_ A.9, ‘the Razor’, which criticizes the introduction of Forms on the basis of an analogy with a hypothetical case of counting things. I argue for a new interpretation of this argument, and show that it involves two interesting objections against the introduction of Forms as formal causes: one concerns the completeness and the other the adequacy of such an explanatory project.
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  40. Reconstructing Aquinas's Process of Abstraction.Liran Shia Gordon - 2018 - Heythrop Journal 59 (4):639-652.
    Aquinas’s process of abstraction of the particular thing into a universal concept is of pivotal importance for grounding his philosophy and theology in a natural framework. Much has been said and written regarding Aquinas’s doctrine of abstraction, yet recent studies still consider it to be ‘nothing more than a kind of magic.’ This problematic claim is not without foundation, for in trying to understand exactly how this process works, we are constantly faced with an unbridgeable abyss and the repeated vague (...)
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  41. A Review of The Problem of Universals in Contemporary Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 2015. [REVIEW]Mihretu P. Guta - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (271):417-419.
    The Problem of Universals in Contemporary Philosophy. Edited by Gabriele Galluzzo and Michael J. Loux.
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  42. Taxonomy of Relations: Internal and External.Jani Hakkarainen, Markku Keinänen & Antti Keskinen - 2018 - In Daniele Bertini & Damiano Migliorini (eds.), Relations. Ontology and Philosophy of Religion. Verona. Italy: Mimesis International. pp. 93-121.
    In this paper, we discern different types of possible relations. We focus on the distinction between internal and external relations and their various possible sub-types. In the first section, we present what is nowadays more or less the standard distinction between internal and external relations. In the second section, we make two contributions to the literature of internal relations: a new taxonomy of internal relations and a novel distinction between formal and material ontological relations. In the third section, we discuss (...)
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  43. Nominalist Realism.Nicholas K. Jones - 2018 - Noûs:0-1.
    This paper explores the impact of quantification into predicate position on the metaphysics of properties, arguing that two familiar debates about properties are fundamentally altered by recasting them in a second-order setting. Two theories of properties are outlined, differing over whether the existence of properties is expressed using first-order or second-order quantifiers. It is argued that the second-order theory: provides good reason to regard debate about the locations of properties as contentless; resolves debate about whether properties are particulars or universals (...)
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  44. Instantiation and Characterization: Problems in Lowe's Four-Category Ontology.Markku Keinänen - 2018 - In Timothy Tambassi (ed.), Studies in the Ontology of E.J. Lowe. Neunkirchen-Seelscheid: Editiones Scholasticae. pp. 109-124.
    According to Lowe’s Four-Category Ontology, the general nature of the entities belonging to the four fundamental categories is determined by the basic formal ontological relations (instantiation and characterization) that they bear to other entities. I argue that, in closer analysis, instead of one formal relation of characterization, this category system introduces two, one connecting particulars and another universals. With regard to the characterization relation connecting particulars, it remains an open issue whether it would need further analysis. By contrast, the status (...)
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  45. Metaphysics of States of Affairs: Truthmaking, Universals, and a Farewell to Bradley’s Regress.Bo R. Meinertsen - 2018 - Springer Singapore.
    This book addresses the metaphysics of Armstrongian states of affairs, i.e. instantiations of naturalist universals by particulars. The author argues that states of affairs are the best candidate for truthmakers and, in the spirit of logical atomism, that we need no molecular truthmakers for positive truths. In the book's context, this has the pleasing result that there are no molecular states of affairs. Following this account of truthmaking, the author first shows that the particulars in (first-order) states of affairs are (...)
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  46. What Has Aquinas Got Against Platonic Forms?Turner C. Nevitt - 2018 - In Gyula Klima & Alex Hall (eds.), Hylomorphism and Mereology: Proceedings of the Society for Medieval Logic and Metaphysics Volume 15. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 67–79.
    Aquinas consistently criticizes Plato and his followers for their commitment to the existence of separate forms or ideas. There is no whiteness existing by itself apart from any particular white things or any particular person's thoughts about them. The same goes for every natural form, from humanity to heat. And yet Aquinas is happy to appeal to such separate forms as examples to illustrate his own metaphysical views. This seems like a strange and dangerous procedure. If Aquinas considers Platonic forms (...)
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  47. Lasst uns den Weg einer neuen Ontologie einschlagen! (2. Teil).Gianluigi Segalerba - 2018 - Analele Universitǎţii Din Craiova, Seria: Filosofie 42 (2):5-48.
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  48. Against Instantiation as Identity.Scott Brown - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (4):887-900.
    Some people object to realism about universals because they think that instantiation, the connection between something and the universals that characterize it, is too mysterious. Baxter and Armstrong try to make instantiation less mysterious by taking it to be a kind of partial identity. However, I argue that their accounts of instantiation, and any similar ones, fail.
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  49. A Study About the Universals in Ideas I.Nathalie de la Cadena - 2017 - Aoristo 1 (2):23-42.
    The problem of universals remains a philosophical theme not only in ontology but also in epistemology. In Husserl, there are particular universals, the noematic ‘X’, the identical, and universals stricto sensu, atemporal universal names. In this paper, I present the theme as it is analyzed by Husserl in Ideas I. In the first section, I describe the trajectory to the universals highlighting the parallelism between noese and noema. In the second section, I draw the reflection of this problem on the (...)
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  50. Invisible Disagreement: An Inverted Qualia Argument for Realism.Justin Donhauser - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (3):593-606.
    Scientific realists argue that a good track record of multi-agent, and multiple method, validation of empirical claims is itself evidence that those claims, at least partially and approximately, reflect ways nature actually is independent of the ways we conceptualize it. Constructivists contend that successes in validating empirical claims only suffice to establish that our ways of modelling the world, our “constructions,” are useful and adequate for beings like us. This essay presents a thought experiment in which beings like us intersubjectively (...)
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