more from E.J. Lowe

Single Idea 8288

[catalogued under 8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 1. Universals]

Full Idea

I want to distinguish 'substantial' universals from 'non-substantial' universals. The former are denoted by sortal terms, such as 'statue' and 'tiger', whereas the latter are denoted by adjectival terms, such as 'red' and 'spherical'.


'Sortal' terms refer to things which can be counted

Gist of Idea

Sortal terms for universals involve a substance, whereas adjectival terms do not


E.J. Lowe (The Possibility of Metaphysics [1998], 9.3)

Book Reference

Lowe,E.J.: 'The Possibility of Metaphysics' [OUP 2001], p.197

A Reaction

It is an interesting question whether or not (assuming you are committed to universals) a universal necessarily implies an associated substance. If a property is a power, it must be a power of something. Nominalists will deny his distinction.