In this chapter, I present the first systematic trope nominalist approach to natural kinds of objects. It does not identify natural kinds with the structures of mind-independent entities (objects, universals or tropes). Rather, natural kinds are abstractions from natural kind terms and objects belong to a natural kind if they satisfy their mind-independent application conditions. By relying on the trope theory SNT (Keinänen 2011), I show that the trope parts of a simple object determine the kind to which it belongs. (...) Moreover, I take the first steps to generalize the trope nominalist theory to the natural kinds of complex objects. (shrink)
The ontological theory of the later Franz Brentano is often referred to as ‘reism.’ But what exactly is reism, and how is it related to modern-day nominalism? In this paper, I offer an interpretation of Brentano’s reism as a specific variety of nominalism. This variety, although motivated by distinctly modern concerns about truthmakers, adopts a strategy for providing such truthmakers that is completely foreign to modern nominalism. The strategy rests on proliferation of coincident concrete particulars. For example, (...) ‘Socrates is wise’ and ‘Socrates is Greek’ are made true, respectively, by wise-Socrates and Greek-Socrates, where wise-Socrates and Greek-Socrates are two coinciding but numerically distinct concrete particulars (which also coincide with Socrates). (shrink)
Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra offers a fresh philosophical account of properties. How is it that two different things (such as two red roses) can share the same property (redness)? According to resemblance nominalism, things have their properties in virtue of resembling other things. This unfashionable view is championed with clarity and rigor.
Gardeners, poets, lovers, and philosophers are all interested in the redness of roses; but only philosophers wonder how it is that two different roses can share the same property. Are red things red because they resemble each other? Or do they resemble each other because they are red? Since the 1970s philosophers have tended to favour the latter view, and held that a satisfactory account of properties must involve the postulation of either universals or tropes. But Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra revives the (...) dormant alternative theory of resemblance nominalism, showing first that it can withstand the attacks of such eminent opponents as Goodman and Armstrong, and then that there are reasons to prefer it to its rival theories. The clarity and rigour of his arguments will challenge metaphysicians to rethink their views on properties. (shrink)
Thomas Hobbes was, rather famously, a nominalist. The core of that nominalism is the belief that the only universal things are universal names: there are no universal objects, or universal ideas. This paper looks at what Hobbes's views about universal names were, how they evolved over time, and how Hobbes argued for them. The remainder of the paper considers two objections to Hobbes's view: a criticism made by several of Hobbes's contemporaries, that Hobbes's view could not account for people (...) saying the same thing in different languages; and a more recently popular criticism of Hobbes, that his nominalism's reliance on similarity implicitly (and inconsistently) involves reliance on a universal. (shrink)
The object of this paper is to provide a solution to Nelson Goodman’s Imperfect Community difficulty as it arises for Resemblance Nominalism, the view that properties are classes of resembling particulars. The Imperfect Community difficulty consists in that every two members of a class resembling each other is not sufficient for it to be a class such that there is some property common to all their members, even if ‘x resembles y’ is understood as ‘x and y share some (...) property’. In the paper I explain and criticise several solutions to the difficulty. Then I develop my own solution, which is not subject to the objections I make to the other solutions, and which accords completely with the basic tenets of Resemblance Nominalism. (shrink)
I here investigate whether there is any version of the principle of charity both strong enough to conflict with an error-theoretic version of nominalism about abstract objects, and supported by the considerations adduced in favour of interpretive charity in the literature. I argue that in order to be strong enough, the principle, which I call (Charity), would have to read, “For all expressions e, an acceptable interpretation must make true a sufficiently high ratio of accepted sentences containing e”. I (...) next consider arguments based on Davidson's intuitive cases for interpretive charity, the reliability of perceptual beliefs, and the reliability of “non-abstractive inference modes”, and conclude that none support. I then propose a diagnosis of the view that there must be some universal principle of charity ruling out. Finally, I present a reason to think (Charity) is false, namely, that it seems to exclude the possibility of such disagreements as that between nominalists and realists. (shrink)
The concept of population thinking was introduced by Ernst Mayr as the right way of thinking about the biological domain, but it is difficult to find an interpretation of this notion that is both unproblematic and does the theoretical work it was intended to do. I argue that, properly conceived, Mayr’s population thinking is a version of trope nominalism: the view that biological property-types do not exist or at least they play no explanatory role. Further, although population thinking has (...) been traditionally used to argue against essentialism about biological kinds, recently it has been suggested that it may be consistent with at least some forms of essentialism—ones that construe essential properties as relational. I argue that if population thinking is a version of trope nominalism, then, as Mayr originally claimed, it rules out any version of essentialism about biological kinds. (shrink)
Buddhist semantic realists assert that reality is always non-linguistic, beyond the domain of conceptual thought. Anything that is conceptual and linguistic, they maintain, cannot be reality and therefore cannot function as reality.The Pra¯san˙gika however rejects the realist theory and argues that all realities are purely linguistic—just names and concepts—and that only linguistic reality can have any causal function. This paper seeks to understand the Pra¯san˙gika’s radical semantic nominalism and its philosophical justifications by comparing and contrasting it with the realistic (...) semantic theories. (shrink)
Ostrich nominalists often cite Quine’s criterion of ontological commitment in order to claim that their view is more parsimonious than rival positions in ontology such as realism. We show that Quine’s criterion, properly understood, does not support this claim. Indeed, we show that ostrich nominalism has a far more profligate ontology than realism.
In this dissertation I consider the merits of certain nominalist accounts of phenomena related to the character of ordinary objects. What these accounts have in common is the fact that none of them is an error theory about standard cases of predication and none of them deploys God or uniquely theistic resources in its explanatory framework. -/- The aim of the dissertation is to answer the following questions: -/- • What is the best nominalist account on offer? • How might (...) it be improved? • Does it ultimately succeed? -/- I will argue that while so-called trope theory is the best account on offer, it can be significantly improved—or replaced—by a novel version of nominalism that is modeled after trope theory. Ultimately, however, I will argue that even the novel version fails. -/- The dissertation unfolds as follows. In Chapter 1, I introduce Austere Nominalism (AN), which is perhaps the most extreme version of nominalism that falls within the scope of the dissertation. AN is often described as the view that there exist only concrete particulars. According to AN, it is unnecessary to posit any entities other than ordinary objects—turkeys, tables, and the like—in order to account for explananda related to the character of those objects. (Such explananda include the phenomenon of attribute agreement, of attribute possession, of true subject-predicate sentences, etc.) In this chapter I argue that AN fails to provide an adequate account of these explananda. In addition, introducing and criticizing AN serves an important heuristic role for the rest of the dissertation. To understand this role, we must distinguish between the basic explanatory strategy deployed by the austere nominalist and the type of explananda for which she deploys that strategy. The austere nominalist deploys the strategy to account for the character of ordinary objects. As I argue in Chapter 1, this deployment is a failure. As I go on to show in Chapter 2, the widespread rejection AN has led to a variety of rival accounts of the character of ordinary objects. In rejecting AN, however, these accounts also tacitly reject its basic explanatory strategy. Thus goes the baby with the bathwater, since, arguably, there are some attractive features of AN’s basic explanatory strategy. Indeed, those who defend the most prominent version of nominalism—trope theory—seem to overlook the advantages of AN’s basic strategy, and by so doing, make an unnecessary concession to the realist. Or so I argue in Chapter 3. And, as I will argue in Chapter 4, the strongest version of nominalism is a novel account, modeled after trope theory, that deploys AN’s basic strategy at a more fundamental level than that of ordinary objects. This novel account—troper theory—is closer in spirit to AN than is traditional trope theory. (Thus, AN serves as a foil for the discussion of other nominalist views.) Finally, in the Afterword I indicate how troper theory is equally vulnerable to some of the traditional objections that plague trope theory. Thus, if you are not convinced that traditional objections to trope theory are conclusive and you want to be a nominalist, then you should abandon trope theory and adopt troper theory. If you take traditional objections against trope theory to have significant force, then you should reject both theories. (shrink)
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 (...) class='Hi'>nominalism with idealism. (shrink)
Bertrand Russell argued that any attempt to get rid of universals in favor of resemblances fails. He argued that no resemblance theory could avoid postulating a universal of resemblance without falling prey to a vicious infinite regress. He added that admitting such a universal of resemblance made it pointless to avoid other universals. In this paper I defend resemblance nominalism from both of Russell's points by arguing that (a) resemblance nominalism can avoid the postulation of a universal of (...) resemblance without falling into a vicious infinite regress, and (b) even if resemblance nominalism had to admit a universal of resemblance, this would not make it pointless to avoid postulating other universals. (shrink)
Alfred Tarski was a nominalist. But he published almost nothing on his nominalist views, and until recently the only sources scholars had for studying Tarski’s nominalism were conversational reports from his friends and colleagues. However, a recently-discovered archival resource provides the most detailed information yet about Tarski’s nominalism. Tarski spent the academic year 1940-41 at Harvard, along with many of the leading lights of scientific philosophy: Carnap, Quine, Hempel, Goodman, and (for the fall semester) Russell. This group met (...) frequently to discuss logical and philosophical topics of shared interest. At these meetings, Carnap took dictation notes, which are now stored in the Archives of Scientific Philosophy. Interestingly, and somewhat surprisingly, the plurality of notes covers a proposal Tarski presents for a nominalist language of unified science. This chapter addresses the following questions about this project. What, precisely, is Tarski’s nominalist position? What rationales are given for Tarski’s nominalist stance—and are these rationales defensible? Finally, how is Tarskian nominalism of 1941 related to current nominalist projects? (shrink)
In my book *Resemblance Nominalism* I argued that the truthmakers of ´a and b resemble each other´ are just a and b. In his "Resemblance Nominalism and counterparts" Alexander Bird objects to my claim that the truthmakers of ´a and b resemble each other´ are just a and b. In this paper I respond to Bird´s objections.
The subject matter of this thesis is analytic ontology. Chapters II and III deal with two versions of trope theory, or moderate nominalism; these are defined as ontologies which recognise properties and relations but no (real) universals. The key notion of both theories, trope, is characterised as an abstract particular. What the abstractness amounts to differs between the two. Yet another difference is that simplicity is an essential trait of a trope according to one theory, but not according to (...) the other. Though exact similarity is said to play an important role in both theories, as it turns out, this does not seem to be the case. The ontology dealt with in chapter IV is a mixture of moderate nominalism concerning qualities and realism concerning relations. In it, quality instances (moments) and universal relations are the ultimate constituents of the universe. While relations and moments are considered to be constituents of states of affairs, which are characterised as objects of higher orders, complexes that are objects of the first order are made up of moments on their own. Among these complexes one finds the ordinary objects. Paradoxically, although relations are necessary for the existence of complex first order objects, relations are not thought to be among the contents of these objects. The main subject of chapter V is a particular version of moderate realism; it is an ontology which is realistic in its recognition of universals and moderate in its recognition of instances of these universals. Instances combine to form complex networks. A theoretically motivated claim is that although each instance has a predicational aspect as well as a universal one, it is simple in the sense of lacking internal predicative structure; though, this claim can be called into question. Keywords: analytic ontology, moderate nominalism, moderate realism, particular, universal, abstract, concrete, abstract particular, abstract universal, concrete particular, concrete universal, trope, moment, complex unity, collection, instance, unit attribute, intensional aspect, predicational aspect, continuous composite, articulated composite. (shrink)
Among biological kinds, the most important are species. But species, however defined, have vague boundaries, both synchronically owing to hybridization and ongoing speciation, and diachronically owing to genetic drift and genealogical continuity despite speciation. It is argued that the solution to the problems of species and their vague boundaries is to adopt a thoroughgoing nominalism in regard to all biological taxa, from species to domains. The base entities are individual organisms: populations of these compose species and higher taxa. This (...) accommodates all the important biological facts while avoiding the legacy problems of pre-evolutionary typological taxonomy, which saw species and other taxa as prior to their members. Species are however not individuals: they are spatiotemporally bounded collections, which are plural particulars. (shrink)
In the philosophy of mathematics, indispensability arguments aim to show that we are justiﬁed in believing that abstract mathematical objects exist. I wish to defend a particular objection to such arguments that has become increasingly popular recently. It is called instrumental nominalism. I consider the recent versions of this view and conclude that it has yet to be given an adequate formulation. I provide such a formulation and show that it can be used to answer the indispensability arguments. -/- (...) There are two main indispensability arguments in the literature, though one has received nearly all of the attention. They correspond to two ways in which we use mathematics in science and in everyday life. We use mathematical language to help us describe non-mathematical reality; and we use mathematical reasoning to help us perform inferences concerning non-mathematical reality using only a feasible amount of cognitive power. The former use is the starting point of the Quine-Putnam indispensability argument ([Quine, 1980a], [Quine, 1980b], [Quine, 1981a], [Quine, 1981b], [Putnam, 1979a], [Putnam, 1979b]); the latter provides the basis for Ketland’s more recent argument ([Ketland, 2005]). I begin by considering the Quine-Putnam argument and introduce instrumental nominalism to defuse it. Then I show that Ketland’s argument can be defused in a similar way. (shrink)
In this article I trace some of the main tenets of the struggle between nominalism and realism as identified by John Deely in his Four ages of understanding. The aim is to assess Deely’s claim that the Age of Modernity was nominalist and that the coming age, the Age of Postmodernism — which he portrays as a renaissance of the late middle ages and as starting with Peirce — is realist. After a general overview of how Peirce interpreted the (...) nominalist-realist controversy, Deely gives special attention to Thomas Aquinas’s On being and essence and the realism it entails. A subsequent discussion of the Modern Period shows that the issue of nominalism and realism is very much tied up with di¤erent conceptions of the intellect. Deely credits the theory of evolution with bringing us a conception of the intellect that is closer to that of the Middle Ages and that opens the way for a truly realistic ‘‘fourth age’’ of the understanding. (shrink)
I argue that constructive nominalism is preferable to scientific realism. Rather than reflecting without distortion the way the mind-independent world is, theories refract. They provide an understanding of the world as modulated by a particular theory. Truth is defined within a theoretical framework rather than outside of it. This does not undermine objectivity, for an assertion contains a reference to the framework in terms of which its truth is claimed.
Whereas traditional nominalists accept the realist's challenge to solve a 'Problem of Universals', the Ostrich Nominalist responds that there is no such Problem to answer. I suggest that Ostrich Nominalist arguments expose a genuine flaw in the realist project. However, I argue, Ostrich Nominalism is ultimately defeated by a problem about the analysis of qualitative sameness and difference. Qualitative sameness and difference are adequately understood only as sameness or difference in some respect. The need to say what these respects (...) of sameness and difference are (if not universals) constitutes a genuine Problem of Universals; consequently—I claim—the Ostrich Nominalist is mistaken. (shrink)
It is argued that, if Armstrong is correct and truthmakers necessitate the truths they make true, then the truthmakers must include facts about the meanings of the words used to express those truths, and nominalism apparently results. This conclusion, no doubt unpalatable to Armstrong, is, it is claimed, the result of his having failed to distinguish sufficiently the meanings of words and the properties of things.
My aim in this paper is to consider one of Peirce's criticisms of Hegel, namely, that Hegel was a nominalist. Of the various criticisms of Hegel that Peirce offers, this has been little discussed, perhaps because it is puzzling to find Peirce making it at all. For, Peirce also criticises Hegel for his overzealous enthusiasm for Thirdness, where it is then hard to see how Hegel can have both faults: how can anyone who acknowledges the significance of Thirdness in Peirce's (...) sense also fail to be a realist? I will begin by setting out this difficulty and showing how it can be resolved, and will then consider the justice of Peirce's criticism once we have a clear idea of what it amounts to. I will suggest that this criticism is unwarranted, and that in some respects it is curious to find Peirce making it, when he could just as easily have treated Hegel as an ally in the bmggle with nominalism. The issue therefore takes us to the heart of Peircean and Hegelian metaphysics, and in a way that relates to questions that are central to contemporary philosophical debates concerning the nature of realism, idealism, and anti-realism. (shrink)
The present paper will argue that, for too long, many nominalists have concentrated their researches on the question of whether one could make sense of applications of mathematics (especially in science) without presupposing the existence of mathematical objects. This was, no doubt, due to the enormous influence of Quine's "Indispensability Argument", which challenged the nominalist to come up with an explanation of how science could be done without referring to, or quantifying over, mathematical objects. I shall admonish nominalists to enlarge (...) the target of their investigations to include the many uses mathematicians make of concepts such as structures and models to advance pure mathematics. I shall illustrate my reasons for admonishing nominalists to strike out in these new directions by using Hartry Field's nominalistic view of mathematics as a model of a philosophy of mathematics that was developed in just the sort of way I argue one should guard against. I shall support my reasons by providing grounds for rejecting both Field's fictionalism and also his deflationist account of mathematical knowledge—doctrines that were formed largely in response to the Indispensability Argument. I shall then give a refutation of Mark Balaguer's argument for his thesis that fictionalism is "the best version of anti-realistic anti-platonism". (shrink)
Resumo Neste artigo o autor apresenta cinco abordagens diferentes ao debate entre o platonismo e o nominalismo: a quantificacional, a reducionista, a dependência da mente / linguagem, a extensional versus intensional, a hierárquica. Cada uma apresenta suas vantagens e desvantagens que devem ser discutidas em detalhe. Palavras-chave : existência, meta-metafísica, nominalismo, platonismoIn this paper I present five different approaches to the debate between Platonism and Nominalism: the quantifier approach, the reductionist approach, the mind / language dependence approach, the extension (...) versus intension approach and the hierarchichal approach. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages that have to be discussed in detail. Keywords : existence, metametaphysics, nominalism, platonism. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to offer a Hegelian critique of Quine’s predicate nominalism. I argue that at the core of Hegel’s idealism is not a supernaturalist spirit monism, but a realism about universals, and that while this may contrast to the nominalist naturalism of Quine, Hegel’s position can still be defended over that nominalism in naturalistic terms. I focus on the contrast between Hegel’s and Quine’s respective views on universals, which Quine takes to be definitive of (...) philosophical naturalism. I argue that there is no good reason to think Quine is right to make this nominalism definitive of naturalism in this way – where in fact Hegel offers a reasonably compelling case that science itself requires some commitment to realism about universals, kinds, etc. Furthermore, even if Hegel is wrong about that, at least his case for realism is still a naturalistic one, as it is based on his views on concrete universality, which is an innovative form of in rebus realism about unive.. (shrink)
Prof. Pasnau’s remarkable book offers an exciting integration of medieval and early modern philosophy. It begins, however, in mediis rebus and so downplays the role that a particularly Nominalist tradition plays in explaining the abandonment of substantial form rise of the mechanical philosophy. This paper attempts to sketch some of that role.
In this paper, I consider some ways in which the Copy Principle and Hume’s nominalism impinge on one another, concluding that the marriage is not a happy one. I argue for the following claims. First, Hume’s argument against indeterminate ideas isn’t cogent even if the Copy Principle is accepted. But this does not vindicate Locke: the imagistic conception of ideas, presupposed by the Copy Principle, will force Locke to accept something like Hume’s view of the way general terms function, (...) the availability of abstract ideas notwithstanding. Second, Hume’s discussion of nominalism provides support for the “old Hume” interpretation, which takes the Copy Principle to be a criterion of meaningfulness, as against the “new Hume” reading, according to which it constrains what we can know. Finally, nominalism forces Hume to adopt a more complicated theory of ideas. (shrink)
This essay explores the use of platonist and nominalist concepts, derived from the philosophy of mathematics and metaphysics, as a means of elucidating the debate on spacetime ontology and the spatial structures endorsed by scientific realists. Although the disputes associated with platonism and nominalism often mirror the complexities involved with substantivalism and relationism, it will be argued that a more refined three-part distinction among platonist/nominalist categories can nonetheless provide unique insights into the core assumptions that underlie spatial ontologies, but (...) it also assists in critiquing alternative uses of nominalism, platonism, and both ontic and epistemic structural realism. (shrink)
The goal is to sketch a nominalist approach to mathematics which just like neologicism employs abstraction principles, but unlike neologicism is not committed to the idea that mathematical objects exist and does not insist that abstraction principles establish the reference of abstract terms. It is well-known that neologicism runs into certain philosophical problems and faces the technical difficulty of finding appropriate acceptability criteria for abstraction principles. I will argue that a modal and iterative nominalist approach to abstraction principles circumvents those (...) difficulties while still being able to put abstraction principles to a foundational use. (shrink)
In this essay I first outline contemporary Platonism about musical works – the theory that musical works are abstract objects. I then consider reasons to be suspicious of such a view, motivating a consideration of nominalist theories of musical works. I argue for two conclusions: first, that there are no compelling reasons to be a nominalist about musical works in particular, i.e. that nominalism about musical works rests on arguments for thoroughgoing nominalism, and, second, that if Platonism fails, (...) fictionalism about musical works is to be preferred to other nominalist ontologies of musical works. (shrink)
The paper focuses on Nominalism in history, its application, and its historiographical implications. By engaging with recent scholarship as well as classic works, a survey of Nominalism’s role in the discipline of history is made; such examination is timely, since it has been done but scantily in a purely historical context. In the light of recent theoretical works, which often display aporias over the nature and method of historical enquiry, the paper offers new considerations on historical theory, which (...) in the author’s view may solve some of the contradictions that have surfaced in recent times. The Nominalistic stance is argued against by disputing theorists such as Paul Veyne, who has made a case for Nominalism in history. A brief philosophical section introduces Nominalism in its metaphysical dimension and the discussion is speedily brought to its significance for history. The paper also proposes a solution to the misconstrued yet too often vague application of scientism in history, and offers theoretical grounds that might solve some of the ‘stormy grounds’ historiography finds itself today. Articles by Marcel Gauchet and History and Theory’s Anton Froeyman and Bert Leuridan are engaged with, as well as Murray Murphy’s books on the philosophy of history. Works by Georg Gadamer, Marc Bloch, Benedetto Croce, Hyppolite Taine, and Anthony Grafton crucially inform the discussion and brace the consequential conclusion. (shrink)
This essay discusses the semiotic scaffolding of modern science, the roots of which lie in the Protestant Reformation and the latter’s repudiation of the “semiotics of nature” upon which medieval theology depended. Taking the fourteenth-century battles between realism and nominalism as the semiotic scaffolding of the Reformation which was subsequently built on nominalist principles, and the Reformation as what made possible the development of early modern science, this essay argues that nominalism, Protestantism, and early modern science were all (...) infected by the gnostic influences which had always accompanied Christianity from the start. Indicating that forms of creative discovery, in the arts, humanities and sciences, are closer to poetic forms than they are to the Baconian model which informed modern science, the essay goes on to link the latter gnostic-influenced metaphysics, motivated by a Reformation anxiety about sin and error, to the development of the modern “megamachine” as described by Lewis Mumford in The Myth of the Machine volumes 1 and 2. Finally the essay suggests that semiotically revivified life sciences might be capable of resolving some of the systemic and ecological problems which Mumford identifies. (shrink)
In his Cities of God, Graham Ward advocates for what he calls an ‘analogical worldview’. On the one hand, he suggests that this analogical worldview has its roots in pre-modern theology and philosophy, especially in Augustine and Aquinas. On the other hand, Graham Ward draws heavily on contemporary critical theory to express this view. The thesis defended in this paper is that by reading the concept of analogy from Augustine and Aquinas in terms of contemporary critical theory, especially that of (...) Jacques Derrida, Ward develops an analogical worldview that has strikingly nominalist ramifications. These ramifications imply that, in the end, there is no longer an adequacy between the perceiving mind and the reality perceived. The argument is developed in three steps. In the first step, Ward’s reading of contemporary critical theory, especially with respect to Derrida, is introduced. In the second step, the theological appropriation of Derrida in the analogical worldview is analyzed. In the third step, the nominalist implications of this application are shown in terms of Ward’s critique of privileging heterosexual relationships. In this third section, I will also deal more extensively and precisely with the question of what I mean by labeling his work as ‘nominalism’ as well as outlining the specific form of nominalism that I am here invoking. In the penultimate section, I will attempt to show that Ward’s nominalism can also be found in the works of Milbank and Pickstock, as it has to do with the specific way in which they take up the Platonic tradition. In my concluding remarks, I will come back to the discussion about the ontological status of sexual relations, indicating my own view on this issue. (shrink)
A challenger of traditions and boundaries A pivotal figure in 20th-century philosophy, Nelson Goodman has made seminal contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, and the philosophy of language, with surprising connections that cut across traditional boundaries. In the early 1950s, Goodman, Quine, and White published a series of papers that threatened to torpedo fundamental assumptions of traditional philosophy. They advocated repudiating analyticity, necessity, and prior assumptions. Some philosophers, realizing the seismic effects repudiation would cause, argued that philosophy should retain the familiar (...) framework. Others considered the arguments compelling, but despaired of doing philosophy without the framework. Goodman disagreed with both factions. Rather than regretting the loss of structure, he capitalized on the opportunities that arise when the strictures of tradition are loosened. Available individually by volume 1. Nominalism, Constructivism, and Relativism in the Work of Nelson Goodman (0-8153-2609-2) 296 pages 2. Nelson Goodman's New Riddle of Induction (0-8153-2610-6) 312 pages 3. Nelson Goodman's Philosophy of Art (0-8153-2611-4) 284 pages 4. Nelson Goodman's Theory of Symbols and its Applications (0-8153-2612-2) 344 pages. (shrink)
Charles Peirce, the founder of pragmatism, was a thinker of extraordinary depth and range - he wrote on philosophy, mathematics, psychology, physics, logic, phenomenology, semiotics, religion and ethics - but his writings are difficult and fragmentary. This book provides a clear and comprehensive explanation of Peirce's thought. His philosophy is presented as a systematic response to 'nominalism', the philosophy which he most despised and which he regarded as the underpinning of the dominant philosophical worldview of his time. The book (...) explains Peirce's challenge to nominalism as a theory of meaning and shows its implications for his views of knowledge, truth, the nature of reality, and ethics. It will be essential reading both for Peirce scholars and for those new to his work. (shrink)
Nominalism, which has its origins in the Middle Ages and continues into the Twenty-First Century, is the doctrine that there are no universals. This book is unique in bringing together essays on the history of nominalism and essays that present a systematic discussion of nominalism. It introduces the reader to the distinction between particulars and universals, to the difficulties posed by this distinction, and to the main motivations for the rejection of universals. It also describes the main (...) varieties of nominalism about properties and provides tools to understand how they developed in the history of Western Philosophy. All essays are new and are written by experts on the topic, and they advance the discussion about nominalism to a new level. (shrink)
This paper is intended primarily as a reference tool for participants in the debate between realism and nominalism concerning universals. It provides an exhaustive catalogue of the basic analyses of an entity being charactered that nominalists can employ in both a constituent and nonconstituent ontology.
If we take mathematical statements to be true, then must we also believe in the existence of invisible mathematical objects, accessible only by the power of thought? Jody Azzouni says we do not have to, and claims that the way to escape such a commitment is to accept - as an essential part of scientific doctrine - true statements which are 'about' objects which don't exist in any real sense.
If we must take mathematical statements to be true, must we also believe in the existence of abstract eternal invisible mathematical objects accessible only by the power of pure thought? Jody Azzouni says no, and he claims that the way to escape such commitments is to accept (as an essential part of scientific doctrine) true statements which are about objects that don't exist in any sense at all. Azzouni illustrates what the metaphysical landscape looks like once we avoid a militant (...) Realism which forces our commitment to anything that our theories quantify. Escaping metaphysical straitjackets (such as the correspondence theory of truth), while retaining the insight that some truths are about objects that do exist, Azzouni says that we can sort scientifically-given objects into two categories: ones which exist, and to which we forge instrumental access in order to learn their properties, and ones which do not, that is, which are made up in exactly the same sense that fictional objects are. He offers as a case study a small portion of Newtonian physics, and one result of his classification of its ontological commitments, is that it does not commit us to absolute space and time. (shrink)