A Reconsideration of the problem of universals

Eyim, Ahmet
This study aims at investigating the problem of universals, which is one of the most venerable issues in the history of philosophy. The problem of universals emerges from the ontological status of properties and relations; i.e., the existence and nature of properties and relations. It can be defined as the problem of how two or more different objects can have the same property or how a property can be a part of different things. The problem of universals consists of not a single problem but rather a network of problems. The aim of this study is to reconsider the problem of universals which involves the three interrelated problems: ontological problem of predication, the linguistic problem of predication and the problem of abstract reference. Any adequate account for the problem of universals must deal with these problems. Nominalism, Trope theory, and Realism are three major theories that have proposed solutions to the problem of universals. In this study, these accounts have been discussed and it has been tried to reveal whether any of these accounts can deal with these problems. As a conclusion, this study proposes that among the theories that try to deal with the problem of ontological predication and the problem of abstract reference, only Object-Trope theory and Armstrong’s Realism have been successful. However, Object-Trope theory is found to be a bit more superior to Armstrong’s Realism when Ockham’s razor is appealed to.


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Citation Formats
A. Eyim, “A Reconsideration of the problem of universals,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2012.