International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics
Ed. by Hüntelmann, Rafael / Meixner, Uwe / Tegtmeier, Erwin
Together with Cumpa, Javier
Editorial Board Member: 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 / Seibt, Johanna / Simons, Peter / Smith, Barry / Stoecker, Ralf / Strobach, Niko / Trettin, Käthe / Wachter, Daniel
Where are Universals?
1James Allen’s Girls’ School, 144 East Dulwich Grove, London SE22 8TE, UK
Citation Information: Metaphysica. Volume 17, Issue 1, Pages 43–67, ISSN (Online) 1874-6373, ISSN (Print) 1437-2053, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2016-0005, March 2016
- Published Online:
It is often claimed that realists about universals must be either “platonists”, holding that universals lack spatio-temporal location, or “aristotelians”, asserting that universals are located where their instances are. What’s more, both camps agree that locatedness or unlocatedness is part of the essential nature of universals; consequently, aristotelians say that universals cannot exist un located, and platonists allege that universals cannot be located. Here I argue that the dispute may be resolved by synthesizing the most attractive features of each position. I claim that universals are located at their instances when instantiated by particulars which themselves possess a spatio-temporal location; however, uninstantiated universals exist without location. This has the consequence that it will often be a contingent matter whether a given universal has a location, if the universal is only contingently instantiated. Nevertheless, I claim, objections to this position may be overcome.