Realism And The Language Of Universals And Particulars

2044 Words Nov 19th, 2014 9 Pages
Nominalism and Realism in relation to the Language of Universals and Particulars

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines Nominalism as: “a theory that there are no universal essences in reality and that the mind can frame no single concept or image corresponding to any universal or general term” on the other hand it defines realism as: “a doctrine that universals exist outside the mind; specifically: the conception that an abstract term names an independent and unitary reality” . Throughout the lengthy history of philosophy, and especially through the medieval time periods, the terminology of “realism” and “nominalism” were used in opposition to one another. The terms that the conflict was based on dealt with the idea of “universals” versus “particulars.” The nominalist approach is to state that only “particulars” exist around us; they do not acknowledge the existence of any of what the realists would call a “universal.” A realist, on the other hand, would acknowledge the existence of both “universals” and “particulars”: “the debate therefore revolves round the metaphysical question: what there is?” The debate that is often brought up when discussing the ideas of nominalism in relation to realism are normally dealing with how certain distinguishing questions or characteristics are interpreted. The debate constantly dragged back down through linguistics of how individuals view, experience, and come to know something linguistically; what seems to be the most convoluted is…

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