more from William of Ockham

Single Idea 15388

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

Full Idea

Every universal is one particular thing and it is not a universal except in its signification, in its signifying many thing.

Gist of Idea

Universals are single things, and only universal in what they signify


William of Ockham (Summa totius logicae [1323]), quoted by Claude Panaccio - Medieval Problem of Universals 'William'

Book Reference

'Routledge Companion to Metaphysics', ed/tr. Le Poidevin/Simons etc [Routledge 2012], p.55

A Reaction

Sounds as if William might have liked tropes. It seems to leave the problem unanswered (the 'ostrich' problem?). How are they able to signify in this universal way, if each thing is just distinct and particular?