nominalism

   Nominalism is the view, opposed to realism (also called 'Platonism'), that universals (such as truth, beauty and goodness) do not have a mind-independent existence, but are merely linguistic items. The debate between nominalism and realism preoccupied much of medieval philosophy, and it has latterly re-entered analytical philosophy. The distinctive problems that arise for Christian philosophers are: (1) if universals have a real mind-independent existence are they created by God and within his power, or independent of him? (2) if universals are, in contrast, merely linguistic items, how are we to describe God's power and other attributes, which far outstrip our finite powers of expression? Abelard and Roscelin (who described universals as mere 'flatus vocis' - 'breath of the voice') were representatives of the nominalist school; Aquinas, Bonaventure and Duns Scotus were realists. Ockham held a mid-way position called conceptualism: that universals have a mental reality over and above their linguistic representation but not outside the mind (though this position is frequently also loosely described as 'nominalistic').
   See Abelard, Peter; Aquinas, Thomas; Bonaventure; conceptualism; Duns Scotus, John; Ockham, William of; realism; universals
   Further reading: Moreland 2001; Oberman 1983; Tooley 1999

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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  • Nominalism — nominalism …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Nominalism — is a metaphysical view in philosophy according to which general or abstract terms and predicates exist, while universals or abstract objects, which are sometimes thought to correspond to these terms, do not exist.[1] Thus, there are at least two… …   Wikipedia

  • nominalism — NOMINALÍSM s.n. Curent în filozofia medievală care susţinea că numai lucrurile individuale au existenţă reală, în timp ce noţiunile generale sunt simple cuvinte, nume ale acestor lucruri. – Din fr. nominalisme. Trimis de ana zecheru, 08.06.2004.… …   Dicționar Român

  • Nominalism — Nom i*nal*ism, n. The principles or philosophy of the Nominalists. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nominalism — (n.) 1820, view that treats abstract concepts as names only, not realities, from Fr. nominalisme (1752), from nominal, from L. nominalis (see NOMINAL (Cf. nominal)). Related: Nominalist …   Etymology dictionary

  • nominalism — [näm′i nəliz΄əm] n. [Fr nominalisme: see NOMINAL & ISM] a philosophical doctrine of the late Middle Ages that all universal or abstract terms are mere necessities of thought or conveniences of language and therefore exist as names only with no… …   English World dictionary

  • nominalism — nominalist, n. nominalistic, adj. nominalistically, adv. /nom euh nl iz euhm/, n. (in medieval philosophy) the doctrine that general or abstract words do not stand for objectively existing entities and that universals are no more than names… …   Universalium

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  • nominalism — noun Date: 1844 1. a theory that there are no universal essences in reality and that the mind can frame no single concept or image corresponding to any universal or general term 2. the theory that only individuals and no abstract entities (as… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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