The article considers, in a historical setting, the links between varieties of nominalism—the extreme nominalism of the Quine-Goodman variety and the trope nominalism current today—and types of idealism. In so doing arguments of various twentieth century figures, including Husserl, Bradley, Russell, and Sartre, as well as a contemporary attack on relations by Peter Simons are critically examined. The paper seeks to link the rejection of realism about universals with the rejection of a mind-independent “world”—in short, linking nominalism with idealism.
The book contains the first systematic study of the ontology and metaphysics of Gustav Bergmann, tracing their development from early criticisms of Carnap’s semantical theories in Introduction to Semantics, to their culmination in his 1992 New Foundations of Ontology. This involves a detailed study of the implicit metaphysical doctrines in Carnap’s important, but long neglected, 1942 book and their connection to his influential views on reference, truth and modality, that culminated in Meaning and Necessity. In dealing with various fundamental issues (...) in ontology and metaphysics, the book discusses relevant views of major philosophers, such as Russell, Moore, Bradley, Wittgenstein, Meinong, Brentano, Husserl, Broad, McTaggart, and Quine, and of contemporary and recent figures, including D. M. Armstrong, D. Lewis, S. Kripke, J. Searle, W. Sellars, D. Davidson, J. J. C. Smart, and H. Feigl. Building on the critical studies of Bergmann, Carnap and such other philosophers, the author argues for a form of Logical Realism derived from important, but long misunderstood and ignored, aspects of Russell’s theories of descriptions, reference and truth. (shrink)
The Analysis of Perception i Moore's most systematic attempt to handle the problems of in- tentionality occurs in connection with his analysis of perception in Some Main Problems of Philosophy . He begins the book with the following ...
Some philosophers have claimed that one must be acquainted with the elements of one's ontology. Also, believing that substrata and universals are required in an adequate ontology, these philosophers have claimed acquaintance with such objects. This paper attempts to analyze what is involved in such claims and to argue that they result from a number of confusions. The paper deals largely with the claim that substrata, or bare particulars, are presented since numerical difference is a simple fact that is presented. (...) It further attempts to argue that while neither substrata nor universals, as such, are objects of acquaintance, there are some distinctions to be drawn between talk of universals as presented objects and talk of substrata being presented. (shrink)
The author addresses the question as to whether russell and whitehead "provide an explication of the idea that arithmetical truths are tautologies." he thinks their achievement was in developing an axiomatic system in which the "interpreted propositions are tautologies," but not in proving this of mathematics. He thinks the real problem here is the attempt to explicate ordinary language via formally constructed languages. (staff).
The paper considers recent proposals by Armstrong, Dretske, and Tooley that revive the view that statements of laws of nature are grounded by the existence of higher order facts relating universals. Several objections to such a view are raised and an alternative analysis, recognizing general facts, is considered. Such an alternative is shown to meet a number of the objections raised against the appeal to higher order facts and it is also related to views of Hume and Wittgenstein. Further objections (...) are then raised to all the non-Humean "realist" attempts to provide special facts to ground the laws of nature. (shrink)
In an often cited paper, “Universals,” Ramsey attacked the classical distinction between universals and particulars and a 20th century version of it that Russell had set forth. Russell, early in that century, had depended on a questionable distinction taken from Frege—between universals being “incomplete” and particulars being “complete.” This was in part due, as it was for Frege, to an attempt to avoid Bradley-type regresses and account for the “unity” of propositions . But Ramsey’s forceful line of argument, taking Russell’s (...) distinction to depend on projecting linguistic or “logical” distinctions onto “the world,” makes clear use of the predicable-subject distinction that is more basic and which he is also challenging. The discussion of Ramsey’s attack on Russell’s distinctions and of Russell’s reply in a later review, as well as of the ontological import of their controversy and its contemporary revival, leads to consideration of ontological problems in connection with atomic facts and classes and the distinction between simple and complex entities. (shrink)
Russell’s elimination of basic particulars, in An lnquiry into Meaning and Truth and Human Knowledge: lts Scope and Limits, by purportedly construing them as “bundles” or “complexes” of universal qualities has been attacked over the years by A. J. Ayer, M. Black, D. M. Armstrong, M. Loux, and others. These criticisms of Russell’s ontological assay of “particularity” have been based on misconstruals of his analysis. The present paper interprets Russell’s analysis, rebuts arguments of his critics, and sets out a different (...) criticism of “bundle” analyses of particulars of the Russellian kind. (shrink)
An analysis of problematic dispositional predicates like 'soluble' is presented. The analysis attempts to combine cogent features of opposed previous analyses of Carnap and Bergmann, while avoiding problematic features of both. The suggestion that there is an ambiguity in negations of assertions of dispositional properties, and a consequent distinction between "not soluble" and "insoluble," lies at the core of the solution.
Platonism, in its most recent and seemingly most cogent form, has rested on (a) the supposed indispensability of descriptive predicate terms in so-called "improved," or "clarified," or "perspicuous" languages; (b) the distinction between subject and predicate terms based on the asymmetry of the predication relation; and (c) the claimed ontological significance of the different categories of terms implied by (a) and (b). Nominalism, in one of its most pervasive recent forms, has involved the denial of the criterion of ontological commitment (...) embedded in (c) by explicitly or implicitly adopting the criterion expressed in Quine's formula "to be is to be the value of a variable." To avoid the obvious charge that nominalists merely ignore abstract entities by the arbitrary ploy of changing the rules, i.e. denying that ontological commitments are made by the inclusion of primitive predicates in schemata of certain kinds by simply employing a different criterion of commitment, some nominalists have sought to argue for their criterion by pointing to the distinction between singular and general terms and the radically different roles such terms play. The distinction between singular and general terms becomes the premise for an argument that purportedly supports Quine's criterion of ontological commitment. This criterion, in turn, provides the basis for the nomin'alist's use of primitive predicates, as general terms, without ontological commitment to abstract entities. In this paper I shall argue that the nominalist's gambit is inadequate in that the distinction between singular and general terms, as employed by a philosopher like Quine, merely provides a way of stating the nominalist's position and does not provide a reason for holding such a position. To put it another way, if we consider the contemporary nominalist to argue from the distinction between singular and general terms to the cogency of nominalism, since the former provides a ground for Quine's criterion of ontological commitment which, in turn, provides the basis for the latter, then the line of thought is question begging. It is so in that the very way the nominalist draws the distinction presupposes a nominalistic view, since a careful statement of that distinction amounts to a restatement of the nominalistic position. (shrink)
Russell’s late ontology sought to avoid “wholly colourless particulars” (substrata, points of space, bare instants of time) by appealing to complexes of compresent qualities in place of particulars that exemplify qualitieso Yet he insisted on (i) calling qualities like redness “discontinuous,” “repeatable” particulars, and (ii) claiming that such qualities were not universals, since they were not exemplified but were ultimate subjects that exemplified universal relations and universal qualities. It is argued that his choice of terminology is not only misleading, but (...) is ironically not consistent with the concept of universality implicit in his well known “proof” of the existence of universals, a proof he retained in his later (1940-48) ontology. It is also argued that there are substantive grounds for rejecting his classification that clarify the concept of a universal. (shrink)
Two connected themes have been at the core of the old perplexity regarding thinking and speaking about non-existent objects. One involves a question of reference. Can we refer to non-existent objects without, thereby, recognizing, in some sense, non-existent entities as objects of reference? The other involves a question about existence. Is existence a property representable by a predicate in a logically adequate symbohsm? It is argued (1) that existence is not to be construed as an attribute represented by a predicate, (...) (2) that nonnaming names introduce problems, not solutions to problems, (3) that purported properties such as self-identical are specious, and (4) that the Russell property is also seen to be specious by our consideration of predication. (shrink)