Platonistic Theories of Universals

Joshua Hoffman and Gary S. Rosenkrantz

in The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Platonistic Theories of Universals


Platonistic realism asserts the existence of one or more kinds of abstract entities. Necessarily, a Platonic realist is a realist about abstract entities. However, some (but not all) Platonic realists are realists about universals. Thus, a thorough defence of Platonic realism calls for, as a preliminary, an adequate exposition or analysis of the notion of an abstract entity, and an adequate exposition or analysis of the notion of a universal. The distinction between abstract and concrete entities is, it is believed, a fundamental categorial distinction, in that every entity is either concrete or abstract, and no entity is both. It is believed that the abstract–concrete distinction is, in fact, the most fundamental categorial distinction.

Keywords: platonistic realism; abstract entities; concrete entities; theories of universals; abstract–concrete distinction; space and time

Article.  14119 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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