Is Buridan's Theory of Abstraction Incompatible with His Nominalist Semantics? An Evaluation of Klima's Charge against Buridan

This paper addresses Klima’s charge of inconsistancy against John Buridan in a book recently published on the subject. Klima argues that Buridan’s theoryof abstraction commits him to the aspectuality of substantial concepts. However, his semantics of absolute terms and concepts prevents him from accepting anyaspectuality of substantial concepts. In light of this problem, the paper gives a detailed reconstruction of Buridan’s account of abstraction, beginning with sensoryperception and singular cognition and ending with the formation of substantial concepts that have a universal signification. Then, from this reconstruction, someBuridanian responses are given to Klima’s critique, which explain at least why Buridan did not see the problem himself. Finally, the conclusion comes down in favor of Klima and, in light of the discussion, highlights some fundamental problems with the nominalist project
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DOI 10.5840/acpaproc20108414
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