, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 219–234

Universals: Ways or Things?

Original Paper


What all contemporary so-called aristotelian realists have in common has been identified by David Armstrong as the principle of instantiation. This principle has been put forward in different versions, but all of them have the following simple consequence in common: uninstantiated universals do not exist. Such entities are for the lotus-eating Platonist to countenance, but not for any sort of “moderate” realist. I shall argue that this principle, in any guise, is not the best way to differentiate aristotelianism from Platonism. In its place, I shall suggest that the best way to differentiate the two versions of realism from each other is by means of a far more powerful idea: naturalism. And the surprising conclusion given this means of differentiation will be that contrary to the usual proclamations, Platonism will be the more naturalistic theory, whereas aristotelianism will come to be seen for what it really is, namely, non-naturalistic.


Universals Realism Properties Naturalism 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentSt. Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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