Universal: They Argue, Therefore I Am
Mirzaee Ataabadi, Meisam 1979-
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Numerically different things can have the same feature. Not only can actual numerically different concrete things have something in common, but also fictional abstract things can share a feature with other fictional abstract things or actual concrete things. But, how is that possible? Different answers to this question have raised the problem of ‘one over many’ since Plato addressed this issue in Republica. David Armstrong formulates a theory of universals to ground an explanation of this problem, along with a connection between universals and causality. In this thesis, I examine two approaches to this problem that are nominalism and realism. Following Armstrong’s argumentation against nominalism, I develop arguments against nominalism, and apply them to Lewis’ version of nominalism which I call a possibilist nominalism. I further extend my critiques to the realist approach by examining the immanent version of a theory of universals. I argue that the immanent thesis fails to satisfy objectivity and universality of an immanent thing. However, there seems to be no difficulty for the idea that there is a relation between objective intrinsic relevant features of particulars and the causal relation between them. Borrowing Armstrong’s words, I establish that nominalist and realist approaches face some difficulties to deal with the problem of ‘one over many.’ The realist approach has some advantages in dealing with the second duty of a theory of universals that is grounding a connection between universality and causality. At the end, I suggest a theory of universals grounded on the inter-subjective linguistic concepts (Fregean senses). I argue that my theory can successfully explain the problem of ‘one over many.’ Since the theory is consistent with the core idea of connection between universality and causality—the idea that objective intrinsic relevant features of particulars play the main role in analyzing causal relation between them—my theory can satisfy the second duty for a theory of universals.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeHuffman, Sarah; Moore, Dwayne; sinha, Braj; Noppen, Pierre-Francois
Copyright DateSeptember 2018
concepts, immanent, material inference, properties, transcendent, universals