Skip to main content

Exemplification and Constituent Realism: A Clarification and Modest Defense


In this article I present and (modestly) defend a hybrid position which we may call a Platonist constituent ontology. More specifically, I present a version of exemplification which entails (1) a certain form of Platonism, (2) a constituent ontology of ordinary objects, (3) a view of exemplification as a “tiedto” nexus, and (4) a view of properties as abstract objects that are non-spatially “in” ordinary objects. I clarify two sets of preliminary issues, present my hybrid analysis of exemplification, raise and seek to undercut an argument against my constituent realism, and surface some of the costs and benefits relevant to assessing the relative merits of relational versus constituent realism.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. See Moreland (2001).

  2. See Garcia (2009).

  3. Garcia, p. 42.

  4. Garcia, p. 56.

  5. See Moreland (1989, 1997).

  6. Wolterstorff (1970), Loux (2006).

  7. Gould (2010).

  8. Armstrong (1989).

  9. See Moreland, Universals, pp. 53–73, 83–96.

  10. See Moreland (2002), Husserl (1970, 1982).

  11. LI Vol. I, pp. 332, 337, 340; LI Vol. II, pp. 441, 446–447, 453; Ideas I, pp. 7–8. Cf. LI Vol. II, pp. 773–815.

  12. LI Vol. I, pp. 340, 357, 361, 379; Ideas I, p. xxi.

  13. LI Vol. I, pp. 337, 340, 357, 389, 390–391.

  14. LI Vol. I, pp. 337, 357, 383.

  15. LI Vol. I, pp. 337, 339–340, 357, 377, 379; LI Vol II, p. 482; Ideas I, pp. 8, 25.

  16. Ideas I, pp. 39–40.

  17. Moreland (2003).


  • Armstrong DM (1989) Universals: an opinionated introduction. Westview Press, Boulder, pp 76–77; cf. pp 75–82

  • Garcia R (2009) Nominalist constituent ontologies: a development and critique. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Notre Dame

  • Gould P (2010) A defense of platonic theism. Ph.D. Dissertation, Purdue University

  • Husserl E (1970) Logical investigations (trans 2nd edn: Findlay JN) Routledge and Kegan Paul, London

  • Husserl E (1982) Ideas pertaining to a pure phenomenology and to a phenomonological philosophy. First book: general introduction to a pure phenomenology (trans: F Kersten Nijhoff). The Hague

  • Loux M (2006) Aristotle’s constituent ontology. In: Zimmerman D (ed) Oxford studies in metaphysics, vol 2. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 206–250

    Google Scholar 

  • Moreland JP (1989) Keith campbell and the trope view of predication. Australasian J Philos 67:379–393

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moreland JP (1997) A critique of campbell’s refurbished nominalism. Southern J Philos 35:225–246

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moreland P (2001) Universals. Bucks, Great Britain, Acumen Press Canada, McGill-Queen’s University Press

  • Moreland JP (2002) Naturalism, nominalism, and Husserlian moments. Mod Schoolman 79:199–216

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moreland JP, Pickavance T (2003) Bare particulars and individuation: reply to Mertz. Australasian J Philos 81:1–13

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wolterstorff N (1970) Bergmann’s constituent ontology. Nous 4:109–134

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


I wish to thank Paul Gould and Dallas Willard for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this article.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to James Porter Moreland.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Moreland, J.P. Exemplification and Constituent Realism: A Clarification and Modest Defense. Axiomathes 23, 247–259 (2013).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Realism
  • Constituent ontology
  • Exemplification