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The Nominalist’s Gambit and the Structure of Predication

Francesco F. Calemi
From the journal Metaphysica

Abstract

Call the realist thesis that the truth of statements of the form “a is F” entails the existence of properties only via the schema “a is F iff a instantiates F-ness” introductionism; call the nominalist thesis that the schema “a is F iff a instantiates F-ness” doesn’t really introduce properties into the domain of discourse anti-introductionism. I’ll show that both introductionism and anti-introductionism presuppose two crucial assumptions concerning abstract singular terms and predicates, that in turn constitute the pivots of an (allegedly) cogent argument against realism, that is the so-called nominalist’s gambit. Moreover, moving from the phenomenon that I’ll call property-anaphora, I hold that these presuppositions are reciprocally incompatible. I’ll conclude that introductionism and anti-introductionism are positions based on an inconsistent ground, and that the nominalist’s gambit is without force.

Acknowledgment

I would like to thank David M. Armstrong, Andrea Borghini and Achille Varzi for helpful discussion on some of the topics discussed herein. I am also very grateful to the anonymous referees for their very constructive comments.

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Published Online: 2014-10-21
Published in Print: 2014-11-28

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