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Acquaintance with Universals

  • Peter Forrest EMAIL logo
From the journal Metaphysica


In this paper I argue that the problems solved by universals require not merely that we know they exist but that we know them by acquaintance. I begin by explicating this thesis of acquaintance with universals. I then show how it solves some familiar problems. After that I reply to the objection that something weaker will do such as David Lewis’ distinction between natural and artificial classes of possibilia.


I am indebted to Frank White, for persuading me to take seriously the idea of acquaintance with universals, and to Javier Cumpa for his helpful comments.

I have previously argued (Forrest 2005) that universals are good candidates for sense-data. This paper reaches the same conclusion from a different direction, arguing that the reasons we have for realism about universals have the corollary that we are acquainted with them.


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Published Online: 2017-3-28
Published in Print: 2017-4-1

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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