Single Idea 6715

[catalogued under 8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 1. Nominalism / b. Nominalism about universals]

Full Idea

There is no such thing as one precise and definite signification annexed to any general name, they all signifying indifferently a great number of particular ideas.

Gist of Idea

Universals do not have single meaning, but attach to many different particulars


George Berkeley (The Principles of Human Knowledge [1710], Intro 18)

Book Reference

Berkeley,George: 'The Principles of Human Knowledge etc.', ed/tr. Warnock,G.J. [Fontana 1962], p.58

A Reaction

The term 'red' may be assigned to a range of colours, but we also recognise the precision of 'that red'. For 'electron', or 'three', or 'straight', the particulars are indistinguishable.