Distinguishing particulars from universals

Douglas Ehring

in Tropes

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608539
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729607 | DOI:
Distinguishing particulars from universals

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This chapter focuses on the distinction between universals and particulars. It begins with an examination of attempts to characterize this distinction that center on the notion of instantiation or exemplification, arguing that these instantiation-based attempts fail. At this point, the spotlight shifts to the widely held “Aristotelian” formulation of the distinction, which makes universals, but not particulars, capable of being multiply located. It is suggested that necessary amendments to the Aristotelian formulation—to deal with counterexamples—naturally lead to a very different formulation, according to which universals are those entities for which exact inherent similarity is sufficient for identity and particulars are those entities for which it is not sufficient. This way of understanding the distinction is developed and defended.

Keywords: Particulars; Universals; Exemplification; Similarity; Multiply located; Tropes

Chapter.  14340 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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