Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …


International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics

Managing Editor: Koridze, Georg

Ed. by Hüntelmann, Rafael / Meixner, Uwe / Tegtmeier, Erwin

Editorial Board: Addis, Laird / Davies, Brian / Hochberg, Herbert / Johansson, Ingvar / Kanzian, Christian / Klima, Gyula / Koons, Robert C / Künne, Wolfgang / Löffler, Winfried / Mulligan, Kevin / Nef, Frederic / Oaklander, Nathan / Oderberg, David / Orilia, Francesco / Plantinga, Alvin / Potrc, Matjaz / Rapp, Christof / Reicher-Marek, Maria Elisabeth / Schantz, Richard / Scholz, Oliver R. / Seibt, Johanna / Simons, Peter / Smith, Barry / Stoecker, Ralf / Strobach, Niko / Trettin, Käthe / Wachter, Daniel

CiteScore 2018: 0.29

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.257
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.369

See all formats and pricing
More options …

The Nominalist’s Gambit and the Structure of Predication

Francesco F. Calemi
Published Online: 2014-10-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2014-0019


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.

Keywords: anaphora; predication; universals


  • Armstrong, D. M. 1978a. Universals and Scientific Realism: A Theory of Universals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Armstrong, D. M. 1978b. Universals and Scientific Realism: Nominalism and Realism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Calemi, F. F. 2012. Dal nominalismo al platonismo. Il problema degli universali nella filosofia contemporanea. Milano: Mimesis.Google Scholar

  • Devitt, M. 1980. “‘Ostrich Nominalism’ or ‘Mirage Realism’?” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 61:433–39.Google Scholar

  • Gracia, J. J. E. 1988. Individuality: An Essay on the Foundations of Metaphysics. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar

  • Hochberg, H. 1965. “Universals, Particulars, and Predication.” The Review of Metaphysics 19:87–102.Google Scholar

  • Hochberg, H. 1967. “Nominalism, Platonism and ‘Being True Of’.” Noûs 1:413–19.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Hochberg, H. 1970. “Metaphysical Explanation.” Metaphilosophy 1:139–66.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Hochberg, H. 1977. “Mapping, Meaning, and Metaphysics.” Midwest Studies in Philosophy 2:214–24.Google Scholar

  • Hochberg, H. 1978. “Sellars and Goodman on Predicates, Properties and Truth.” Midwest Studies in Philosophy 3:360–68.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Jubien, M. 1997. Contemporary Metaphysics: An Introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar

  • Künne, W. 2006. “Properties in Abundance.” In Universals, Concepts and Qualities: New Essays on the Meaning of Predicates, edited by P. F. Strawson and A. Chakrabarti, 249–300. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar

  • Loux, M. J. 1978. Substance and Attribute: A Study in Ontology. Dordrecht: Reidel.Google Scholar

  • Lowe, E. J. 2006. The Four-Category Ontology: A Metaphysical Foundation for Natural Science. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar

  • MacBride, F. 2006. “Predicates and Properties: Sen’s Universals.” In Universals, Concepts and Qualities: New Essays on the Meaning of Predicates, edited by P. F. Strawson and A. Chakrabarti, 67–90. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar

  • McGinn, C. 2000. Logical Properties: Identity, Existence, Predication, Necessity, Truth. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar

  • Mill, J. S. 1843. System of Logic. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Quine, W. V. O. 1961. “On What There Is.” In From a Logical Point of View: Nine Logico-Philosophical Essays, edited by W. V. O. Quine, 1–19. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar

  • Quine, W. V. O. 1970. Philosophy of Logic. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar

  • Rosenkrantz, G. S. 1993. Haecceity: An Ontological Essay. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.Google Scholar

  • Russell, B. 1951. “The World of Universals.” In The Problems of Philosophy, edited by B. Russell, 91–100. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Schnieder, B. 2006. “Canonical Property Designators.” American Philosophical Quarterly 43:119–32.Google Scholar

  • Searle, J. R. 1969. Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Siegel, M. E. A. 1994. “Such: Binding and the Pro-Adjective.” Linguistics and Philosophy 17:481–97.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Strawson, P. F. 2003. Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Swoyer, C. 1999. “How Ontology Might Be Possible: Explanation and Inference in Metaphysics.” Midwest Studies in Philosophy 23:100–31.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Van Inwagen, P. 2004. “A Theory of Properties.” In Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Vol. 1, edited by D. W. Zimmerman, 107–38. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2014-10-21

Published in Print: 2014-11-28

Citation Information: Metaphysica, Volume 15, Issue 2, Pages 313–327, ISSN (Online) 1874-6373, ISSN (Print) 1437-2053, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2014-0019.

Export Citation

©2014 by De Gruyter.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in