Tape 9: Ockham on relations

Remember that for Ockham there is nothing in the universe that is in any way universal except a concept or word: there are no real natures shared by many things. However, things do resemble one another, some things more closely than others. So the various degrees of resemblance give a foundation in reality for our conceptual structures, such as Porphyry's tree. Now resemblance (or similitude or likeness) is a relation. If such relations are realities, then we can say that there are realities out there that correspond to our conceptual structures. But it won't surprise you to hear that Ockham denies that relations are realities out there in the world: or more exactly, he denies that relations are out there as realities additional to the things that are related. He wants to say that if Socrates is white and Plato is white then they are similar in respect of their whiteness, but their similarity is not something additional to Socrates and Plato and Socrates' whiteness and Plato's whiteness. Nothing is out there except absolute things.
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