A Theory Of Ontology And A Position On The Problem Of Universals Essay

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To understanding how we use language to describe the world, we need theories to describe and explain our reality. The title quote is taken from Willard Van Orman Quine’s, “On What There Is”, in which he presents a theory of ontology and a position on the problem of universals. The problem of universals questions the existence of universals. Universals are properties and relations which are held in common by shared qualities. In comparison, particulars are concrete entities. The debate is centred around two opposing viewpoints – nominalist and realists. Realists believe in universals, nominalists do not. While realists endorse both universals and particulars, nominalists reject the notion of universals and only accept the existence of particulars. Consequently, there is disagreement among philosophers whether universals exist. Discussion of the titled quote follows an examination of the One Over Many argument which leads to the problem of universals. In this essay, I show that I agree with the title statement and will argue in favour of a nominalist account of universals. I will focus primarily on Quine’s argument for nominalist semantics. This argument will be presented by questioning the universal ‘redness’ and the role of meanings. In examining arguments made by Armstrong and subsequently presenting a response to these critiques via the analysis of Devitt, I will also discuss the infinite regress problem and the validity of the One Over Many argument. My conclusion will be

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