Observation and Interpretation: the Problem of the Problem of Universals
It is argued that a number of related influential contemporary solutions to certain problems of the “realism–nominalism issue” seem to depend on an interpretation of those problems rather than upon observations of things. The problem of universals is a case in point. Therefore, there is a problem of the problem of universals and it has to be clarified what the problem of universals is. A primitive or uninterpreted raising of the problem is the main pupose of this paper. In order to accomplish such a task, a methodological statement is made in the first place, namely that the philosophical talk used by some property theorists to raise and answer “realism–nominalism” questions can provide us with a tool to discover when ontological analyses of things are consequences of interpretations. In the second place, a particular influential contemporary interpretation of particulars, universals, exemplification, and facts led by Armstrong, Mertz, Wolterstorff, Butchvarov, and Lowe, which I shall call “The Dogma of Repetition,” is extensively discussed.