Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek

 N - Nominalism


Nominalism: The theory that in reality there are no universals.

Positively, nominalism consists of the theory that in reality there are only individuals or particulars: Entities that are unique, and different from anything else in some respect.

There have been many statements and theories of a nominalistic kind, notably by Abélard, Ockham, Hobbes, Quine and Goodman, but a fundamental problem for any kind of nominalism is that notions like kind, relation, structure, similarity etc. seem unavoidable in any rational explanation of reality, and irreducible to credible nominalistic terms.

See also: Particulars, Universals


Bochenski, Goodman, Loux, Ockham, Quine, Plato

 Original: Dec 17, 2004                                                Last edited: 12 September 2005.   Top