Soft Nominalism in Quine and the School of Dignāga

Edith Wyschogrod

in Crossover Queries

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226061
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235148 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Soft Nominalism in Quine and the               School of Dignāga

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Nominalists argue that everything that is must be particular. D. M. Armstrong contends, “Nominalists deny that there is any objective identity in things which are not identical. Realists, on the other hand, hold that the apparent situation is the real situation. There genuinely is, or can be, something identical. Besides particulars there are universals”. Willard Van Orman Quine prefers “conceptualism”, a position that acknowledges that there are universals but holds them to be “manmade”. “Tactically conceptualism is... the strongest position... for the tired nominalist can lapse into conceptualism, and still allay his puritanic conscience with the reflection that he has not quite taken to eating lotus with the Platonists”. A school of Yogācāra Buddhist logicians, whose leading figures include Dignāga, offers a criticism of universals and an account of particulars that, in a number of significant respects, conforms to Quine's description of “tired” nominalism. This chapter considers the views of Buddhist logicians about point-instants, percepts, inference, names, knowledge, and universals.

Keywords: D. M. Armstrong; nominalists; realists; Willard Van Orman Quine; conceptualism; Dignāga; nominalism; Buddhist logicians; universals; point-instants

Chapter.  5716 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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