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Re: [ontolog-forum] electric sheep

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ingvar Johansson <ingvar.johansson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007 11:40:55 +0100
Message-id: <47358AB7.5000405@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Avril Styrman schrieb:
> Again, I must remind of one great leap
> in ontology: D.M.Armstrong's two-volume Universals and 
> Scientific Realism. I think that this is a must for 
> every member of this mailing list. After reading the 
> first part that concerns paradoxes of nominalism, one 
> can hardly be a nominalist anymore.     (01)

I agree completely. This book from 1978 is a milestone in analytic 
metaphysics. And it takes account of arguments against realism (with 
respect to universals) that Peirce, living hundred years earlier, had 
never met. For me, personally, it was a relief when it came. I could 
then to my nominalist-conceptualist environment simply say, that I did 
my work on the preuspposition that Armstrong's arguments against all the 
prevailing various forms of nominalims and conceptualism were to the point.    (02)

However, even within the camp of immanent realism there are some 
differences of opinion. Here are three ways in which my views differs 
from Armstrong's:    (03)

1. Armstrong thinks that all natural-kind-universals 
(substance-universals) can be reduced to property-universals; I think 
this is impossible.
2. Armstrong thinks that there are no determinables, only determinates; 
I think both are needed in order to make sense of mathematical physics. 
That is, determinates (quantity values) exist only as 
determinates-of-a-determinable (determinable = quantity dimension).
3. Armstrong thinks that if there are universals there are no tropes, 
and vice versa; I think that in order to make sense of the world 
ontologists have to postulate the existence of both universals and 
tropes. (This view is sometimes called 'moderate realism'.)    (04)

Best moderate-realist wishes,
Ingvar J    (05)

Ingvar Johansson
IFOMIS, Saarland University
     home site: http://ifomis.org/
     personal home site:
     http://hem.passagen.se/ijohansson/index.html      (06)

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