The Individual Ontology and Ideology

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 215)


The thesis of the epistemological primacy of the individual is the core of medieval nominalism and of the empiricist tradition as well. Our basic knowledge is knowledge of the individual, all general knowledge is derived and the general has no ontological status whatsoever; the general is a product of the mind. Therefore we shall first dig up the roots of the medieval discussion, then expose the medieval points of view. This will enable us to understand fully the consequences of the new constructivistic theory. Indeed, the latter has not only ontological implications, it goes together with what Quine has called an ideology, a set of concepts that can be expressed in the system. This ideology, however, determines also negatively what concepts cannot be expressed and as a constructivistic system is meant to be applied and to be an instrument for describing reality in a scientific manner, both aspects, what can and what cannot be expressed, are crucial.


Proper Part Extensional Identity Secondary Substance Common Sense View Individual Essence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    G. Leff, Medieval Thought. Saint Augustine to Ockham, Quadrangle, Books, Chicago, 1958, p.282.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    K. Munitz, Existence and Logic, New York, University Press, New York, 1974, p.45.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Aristote, La Métaphysique, transl. and commentaries by J. Tricot, Vrin, Paris, 1970, p.439, footnote 2.Google Scholar
  4. 20.
    N. Goodman, “A world of Individuals”, in: J.M. Bochenski, The Problem of Universals, A Symposium, Notre Dame University Press, Notre Dame, 1956, p.19.Google Scholar
  5. 29.
    E. Luschei, The Logical Systems of Lesniewski, North Holland Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1962, p.149.Google Scholar
  6. 33.
    N. Goodman, “Appendix to ”A World of Individuals“”, in: Philosophy of Mathematics, Eds. P. Bernacerraf and H. Putnam. Prentice hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1964. Google Scholar
  7. 37.
    For more details: M.J. Loux, Universals and Particulars, Doubleday, New York, 1970, p.196–203.Google Scholar
  8. 41.
    H.S. Leonard and N. Goodman, “The Calculus of Individuals and its Uses”, Journal of Symbolic Logic, Vol. 5, Nr. 2, 1940, p.51.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Belgium

Personalised recommendations