more from Peter Abelard

Single Idea 15384

[catalogued under 8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 3. Predicate Nominalism]

Full Idea

Abelard concluded that only words can be 'predicated of many'. A universal is nothing but a general linguistic predicate, and its universality depends not on its mode of being, but on its mode of signifying.

Gist of Idea

Only words can be 'predicated of many'; the universality is just in its mode of signifying


report of Peter Abelard (works [1135]) by Claude Panaccio - Medieval Problem of Universals 'Peter'

Book Reference

'Routledge Companion to Metaphysics', ed/tr. Le Poidevin/Simons etc [Routledge 2012], p.51

A Reaction

Abelard seems to be the originator of what is now called Predicate Nominalism, with Nelson Goodman as his modern representative. If it is just words, is there no fact of two things having the 'same' property?