Zoltán Gendler Szabó

in The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780199284221
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy


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This article begins with some clarification. Participants in contemporary debates surrounding nominalism tend to share certain assumptions about what ontological commitment amounts to, how the abstract and the concrete are to be distinguished, and what objects in general are. It is good to have these assumptions on the table. Then the article turns to a discussion of nominalist attitudes towards the apparent commitment ordinary thinking and speech carry to abstracta. This is followed by a survey of some of the most influential arguments for nominalism and against it. The article ends with a brief look at some oblique answers to the ontological question about abstracta. It makes no attempt to resolve the issues here, but an anti-nominalist inclination will no doubt show throughout.

Keywords: nominalism; ontological commitment; nominalist attitudes; abstracta; anti-nominalist inclination; physicalism

Article.  17882 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Science

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