<logic, scholasticism, universals (controversy about), nominalist> <ockhamism> the view (held by Berkeley, among others) that general terms, such as "table," do not express or refer to general concepts, abstract ideas, or any sort of really existing universals; there are just individual words and the individual things they refer to.
<history of philosophy, philosophical terminology> belief that only particular things exist, as opposed to realism. Nominalists hold that a general term or name (Lat. Nomen) is applied to individuals that resemble each other, without the need of any reference to an independently existing universal. Prominent representatives of this view include Ockham, Berkeley, and Goodman. Recommended Reading: The Nature of Properties: Nominalism, Realism, and Trope Theory, ed. by Michael Tooley (Garland, 1999); Five Texts on the Mediaeval Problem of Universals: Porphyry, Boethius, Abelard, Duns Scotus, Ockham, ed. by Paul Vincent Spade (Hackett, 1994); Mia Gosselin, Nominalism and Contemporary Nominalism: Ontological and Epistemological Implications of the Work of W.V.O. Quine and of N. Goodman (Kluwer, 1990); and Nominalism, Constructivism, and Relativism in the Work of Nelson Goodman, ed. by Catherine Z. Elgin (Garland, 1997).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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