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Metaphysics: Russell Universals Essay

  • Submitted by: islam52
  • on April 17, 2015
  • Category: Arts and Music
  • Length: 570 words

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Below is an essay on "Metaphysics: Russell Universals" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Russell argues that universals exist. To do so, he first considers the argument from Resemblance Nominalism which denies that there are universals. Both Realists and Nominalists agree that a Particular is a certain way. To explain why each Particular is a certain way, Resemblance Nominalists claim that Particulars resemble other Particulars which are the same way as them. Thus, a Particular is ‘a certain way’ in virtue of its resemblance to one or more Particulars that are the same way. For instance, white Particulars resemble white Particulars. Since there are many different white Particulars, this resemblance exists between many different pairs of them. Russell argues that such resemblances are relations as they form a link between Particulars who are the same way as each other in the sense of what they resemble. And since relations are a kind of universal, resemblances between Particulars entail that there are universals.
Russell raises a potential objection to his conclusion. A Resemblance Nominalist could suggest that the resemblances between pairs of Particulars are numerically distinct. In that case, the resemblances could be considered as being Particulars themselves, not exemplifying a relation. However, Russell counters that objection by stating that each individual resemblance between pairs of Particulars shares a resemblance. For instance, if there were three objects that resembled one another, there would be three resemblances. So the individual resemblances between them would have a resemblance. That resemblance is a relation and thus a universal.
Having argued that there are universals, Russell attempts to justify the existence of ‘Properties’, a type of universal. Resemblance Nominalism rejects the existence of Properties on the grounds that there are no universals. But since it considers resemblances between Particulars to exist, it consequentially accepts that there are universals, because resemblances are relations. Thus having lost its...

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