nominalist, n.nominalistic, adj.nominalistically, adv.
/nom"euh nl iz'euhm/, n.
(in medieval philosophy) the doctrine that general or abstract words do not stand for objectively existing entities and that universals are no more than names assigned to them. Cf. conceptualism, realism (def. 5a).
[1830-40; < F nominalisme. See NOMINAL, -ISM]

* * *

      in philosophy, position taken in the dispute over universals—words that can be applied to individual things having something in common—that flourished especially in late medieval times. Nominalism denied the real being of universals on the ground that the use of a general word (e.g., “humanity”) does not imply the existence of a general thing named by it. The nominalist position did not necessarily deny, however, that there must be some similarity between the particular things to which the general word is applied. Thoroughgoing nominalists would withhold this concession, as Roscelin, a medieval nominalist, is said to have done. But unless such similarity is granted, the application of general words to particulars is made to appear entirely arbitrary. Such stricter forms of nominalism as existed in the Middle Ages can perhaps be viewed as reactions against Platonic realism, on which some enthusiasts, such as Guillaume de Champeaux, based the opinion that universals had real being. The realist position invited a defensive alliance between empiricism and nominalism; the most notable medieval example of such a synthesis was the work of William of Ockham.

      In the Middle Ages, when Platonic and Aristotelian realisms were associated with orthodox religious belief, nominalism could be interpreted as heresy. But religious implications aside, nominalism does indeed reject Platonic realism as a requirement for thinking and speaking in general terms; and though it seems to deny also Aristotelian realism, such moderate nominalists as the 17th-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes (Hobbes, Thomas) affirm that some similarity exists between particulars and the general word applied to them—otherwise thought and speech would be impossible. By explaining thought and speech through the use of symbols, such as mental images or linguistic terms, nominalism seems to imply some form of conceptualism that involves more than the mere correct use of symbols and thus is not clearly distinguishable from conceptualism.

      In modern logic a nominalistic concern is reflected in the form that is given to the universal quantifier. Instead of saying “man is mortal,” or even “all men are mortal,” the modern logician circumvents the universal by saying “for any x, if x is a man it is mortal.” Neopositivism (Logical Positivism), in repudiating metaphysics, has often been explicitly nominalistic, insisting that there exist only “the facts” of observation and experiment. In the mid-20th century, Nelson Goodman, a philosopher of science and of language, and Willard Van Orman Quine (Quine, Willard Van Orman), a logician, have championed a modern nominalism that specifically rejects classes—Goodman for their being “nonindividuals” and Quine for their being “abstract entities.”

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nominalism — nominalism …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Nominalism — is a metaphysical view in philosophy according to which general or abstract terms and predicates exist, while universals or abstract objects, which are sometimes thought to correspond to these terms, do not exist.[1] Thus, there are at least two… …   Wikipedia

  • nominalism — NOMINALÍSM s.n. Curent în filozofia medievală care susţinea că numai lucrurile individuale au existenţă reală, în timp ce noţiunile generale sunt simple cuvinte, nume ale acestor lucruri. – Din fr. nominalisme. Trimis de ana zecheru, 08.06.2004.… …   Dicționar Român

  • nominalism —    Nominalism is the view, opposed to realism (also called Platonism ), that universals (such as truth, beauty and goodness) do not have a mind independent existence, but are merely linguistic items. The debate between nominalism and realism… …   Christian Philosophy

  • Nominalism — Nom i*nal*ism, n. The principles or philosophy of the Nominalists. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nominalism — (n.) 1820, view that treats abstract concepts as names only, not realities, from Fr. nominalisme (1752), from nominal, from L. nominalis (see NOMINAL (Cf. nominal)). Related: Nominalist …   Etymology dictionary

  • nominalism — [näm′i nəliz΄əm] n. [Fr nominalisme: see NOMINAL & ISM] a philosophical doctrine of the late Middle Ages that all universal or abstract terms are mere necessities of thought or conveniences of language and therefore exist as names only with no… …   English World dictionary

  • nominalism — (Lat., belonging to a name) The view that things denominated by the same term share nothing except that fact: what all chairs have in common is that they are called ‘chairs’. The doctrine is usually associated with the thought that everything… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Nominalism — The principle of keeping the amount of a debt obligation fixed despite fluctuations in the money s purchasing power or exchange rate. Nominalism puts the risk of depreciation on the creditor and the risk of appreciation on the debtor …   Investment dictionary

  • Nominalism, Realism, Conceptualism — • The theories that have been proposed as solutions of the problem of universals Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Nominalism, Realism, Conceptualism     Nominalism, Realism, Conceptualism …   Catholic encyclopedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”