more from Michael Devitt

Single Idea 8503

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

Full Idea

Talk of 'particulars' and 'universals' clutters the landscape without adding to our understanding. We should rest with the basic fact that a is F.

Gist of Idea

The particular/universal distinction is unhelpful clutter; we should accept 'a is F' as basic


Michael Devitt ('Ostrich Nominalism' or 'Mirage Realism'? [1980], p.98)

Book Reference

'Properties', ed/tr. Mellor,D.H. /Oliver,A [OUP 1997], p.98

A Reaction

Ramsey was first to challenge the basic distinction. I find the approach of Quine and Devitt unsatisfactory. We abandon explanation when it is totally hopeless, but that is usually in the face of complexity. Properties are difficult but simple.