Ideas from 'Universals' by Frank P. Ramsey [1925], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Philosophical Papers' by Ramsey,Frank (ed/tr Mellor,D.H.) [CUP 1990,0-521-37621-1]].

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8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 1. Universals
The distinction between particulars and universals is a mistake made because of language
                        Full Idea: The whole theory of particulars and universals is due to mistaking for a fundamental characteristic of reality what is merely a characteristic of language.
                        From: Frank P. Ramsey (Universals [1925], p.13)
                        A reaction: [Fraser MacBride has pursued this idea] It is rather difficult to deny the existence of particulars, in the sense of actual objects, so this appears to make Ramsey a straightforward nominalist, of some sort or other.
We could make universals collections of particulars, or particulars collections of their qualities
                        Full Idea: The two obvious methods of abolishing the distinction between particulars and universals are by holding either that universals are collections of particulars, or that particulars are collections of their qualities.
                        From: Frank P. Ramsey (Universals [1925], p.8)
                        A reaction: Ramsey proposes an error theory, arising out of language. Quine seems to offer another attempt, making objects and predication unanalysable and basic. Abstract reference seems to make the strongest claim to separate out the universals.
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 1. Nominalism / a. Nominalism
Obviously 'Socrates is wise' and 'Socrates has wisdom' express the same fact
                        Full Idea: It seems to me as clear as anything can be in philosophy that the two sentences 'Socrates is wise' and 'wisdom is a characteristic of Socrates' assert the same fact and express the same proposition.
                        From: Frank P. Ramsey (Universals [1925], p.12)
                        A reaction: Could be challenged. One says Socrates is just the way he is, the other says he is attached to an abstract entity greater than himself. The squabble over universals has become a squabble over logical form. Finding logical form needs metaphysics!