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

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2016: 0.12

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.111
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.530

See all formats and pricing
More options …

Where are Universals?

Howard Peacock
Published Online: 2016-03-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2016-0005


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.

Keywords: universals; platonism; aristotelianism; location


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

  • Armstrong, D. M. 1985. What Is a Law of Nature? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Armstrong, D. M. 1989. Universals: an Opinionated Introduction. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar

  • Beebee, H., and J. Dodd, eds. 2005. Truthmakers: the Contemporary Debate. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Bradley, F. H. 1897. Appearance and Reality, 2nd ed. London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co. Ltd.Google Scholar

  • Dodd, J. 2002. “Is Truth Supervenient on Being?” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 102:69–85.Google Scholar

  • Ehring, D. 2002. “Spatial Relations between Universals”. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80:17–23.Google Scholar

  • Fine, K. 1994. “Essence and Modality: The Second Philosophical Perspectives Lecture”. Philosophical Perspectives 8:1–16.Google Scholar

  • Franklin, J. 2015. “Uninstantiated Properties and Semi-Platonist Aristotelianism”. The Review of Metaphysics 69:25–45.Google Scholar

  • Gilmore, C. S. 2003. “In Defence of Spatially Related Universals”. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81:420–8.Google Scholar

  • Grupp, J. 2003. “The Impossibility of an Exemplification Tie between Particulars and Universals”. Metaphysica: The International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics 4:27–38.Google Scholar

  • Hornsby, J. 2005. “Truth without Truthmaking Entities”. In Beebee and Dodd.

  • Lewis, D. K. 1986. On the Plurality of Worlds. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar

  • Lewis, D. K. 1990. “Noneism and Allism”. Mind 99:23–31.Google Scholar

  • Liggins, D. 2008. “Truthmakers and the Groundedness of Truth”. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108:177–96.Google Scholar

  • Loux, M. J. 2002. Metaphysics a Contemporary Introduction, 2nd ed, revised. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Lowe, E. J. 1995. “The Metaphysics of Abstract Objects”. The Journal of Philosophy 92:509–24.Google Scholar

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

  • MacBride, F. 1998. “Where are Particulars and Universals?” Dialectica 52:203–27.Google Scholar

  • MacBride, F. 2005. “The Particular-Universal Distinction: A Dogma of Metaphysics?” Mind 114:565–614.Google Scholar

  • MacBride, F. 2011. “Relations and Truthmaking”. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society S.V 84:213–41.Google Scholar

  • MacBride, F. 2014. “How Truth Depends Upon Being”. Analysis 74:370–8.Google Scholar

  • Most, G. W. 1996. “Reading Raphael: ‘the School of Athens’ and Its Pre-Text”. Critical Inquiry 23:145–82.Google Scholar

  • Peacock, H. 2013. “Bradley’s Regress, Truthmaking, and Constitution”. Grazer Philosophische Studien 86:1–21.Google Scholar

  • Peacock, H. 2014. “Existence as the Possibility of Reference”. Acta Analytica 29:389–411.Google Scholar

  • Quinton, A. 1957. “Properties and Classes”. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 58:33–58.Google Scholar

  • Read, S. 2005. “The Unity of the Fact”. Philosophy 80:317–42.Google Scholar

  • Rosen, G. 1990. “Modal Fictionalism”. Mind 99:327–54.Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2016-03-12

Published in Print: 2016-04-01

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.

Export Citation

©2016 by De Gruyter.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in