>Michael J. Loux

>The category of particulars includes what the nonphilosopher typically thinks of as “things” – familiar concrete objects like human beings, animals, plants, and inanimate material bodies; and the realist tells us that what is peculiar to particulars is that each occupies a single region of space at a given time. Universals, by contrast, are construed as repeatable entities. At any given time, numerically one and the same universal can be wholly and completely exhibited or, as realists typically put it, exemplified by several different spatially discontinuous particulars. Thus, different people can exemplify the same virtue at the same time; different automobiles can simultaneously exemplify the same shape; and different houses can, at a given time, exemplify literally the same color. The virtue, the shape, and the color are all universals.

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7 Responses to >Michael J. Loux

  1. s.A says:

    >"Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction" by Michael J. Loux

  2. s.A says:

    >Metaphysical realists want to insist that an adequate account of attribute agreement presupposes a distinction between two types or categories of objects: what are called particulars and what are called universals. The category of particulars includes what the nonphilosopher typically thinks of as "things" – familiar concrete objects like human beings, animals, plants, and inanimate material bodies; and the realist tells us that what is peculiar to particulars is that each occupies a single region of space at a given time. Universals, by contrast, are construed as repeatable entities. At any given time, numerically one and the same universal can be wholly and completely exhibited or, as realists typically put it, exemplified by several different spatially discontinuous particulars. Thus, different people can exemplify the same virtue at the same time; different automobiles can simultaneously exemplify the same shape; and different houses can, at a given time, exemplify literally the same color. The virtue, the shape, and the color are all universals. The claim of the metaphysical realist is that familiar particulars agree in attribute in virtue of their jointly exemplifying a single universal. So there are nonrepeatable entities that stand in a special relation to repeatable entities, and this fact is what grounds attribute agreement among the familiar objects of the everyday world.

  3. s.A says:

    >Realists typically want to claim that there is more than one kind of universal. All the cases of attribute agreement we have mentioned involve what are called one-place or monadic universals. They are universals that particulars exemplify individually or one by one; but there are also relations, universals that are exemplified by several individuals in relation to each other. Thus, being a mile apart is something that is exemplified by a pair of objects: one thing is a mile away from another; and it is a universal: many pairs of objects can be so related at any given time. Likewise, being next to is a spatial relation between objects: one object is next to another and, again, it is a universal: many pairs of objects can agree in entering into it. Both these relations are what are called symmetrical relations; given any pair of objects, a and b, such that a bears either relation to b, b, in turn, bears that same relation to a. But not all relations are symmetrical. Many relations are such that pairs of objects enter into them only when taken in a certain order. Thus, being the father of is an asymmetrical relation: if one thing, a, is the father of another thing, b, then b is not the father of a. As logicians put it, it is the ordered pair, (a and b taken in just that order), that exhibits the relation. The three relations we have considered are all two-place or dyadic relations; but obviously there can be three-place, four-place, and, generally, n-place relations.

  4. s.A says:

    >Relations, then, are polyadic or many-place universals. But colors, virtues, and shapes are all monadic. Each is exhibited by objects taken individually. Now, many realists lump all monadic universals together under the title 'property'; but some realists (typically those influenced by the Aristotelian tradition) insist on a further distinction here. We are asked to distinguish between properties and kinds. Kinds are things like the various biological species and genera. Whereas objects exemplify properties by possessing them, things exemplify kinds by belonging to them. Philosophers who draw this distinction frequently tell us that while kinds constitute the particulars that exemplify them as what they are, properties merely modify or characterize particulars antecedently so marked out; and they often claim that kinds are individuative universals. What is meant is that kinds constitute their members as individuals distinct from other individuals of the same kind as well as from individuals of other kinds. Thus, everything that belongs to the kind human being is marked out as a discrete individual, as one human being countably distinct and separate both from other human beings and from things of other kinds.

  5. s.A says:

    >So attribute agreement can involve a variety of different types of universal. Several particulars can agree in belonging to a single kind; they can agree in possessing a single property; and several pairs, triples, or generally, n-tuples of particulars can agree in entering into a single relation. And realists want to claim that attribute agreement of any of these forms is subject to degrees. A dog and a cat agree in kind: both are mammals; but their agreement in kind is not as close as that tying two dogs. According to the realist, what gives rise to the difference in degree of agreement is the fact that the universals particulars exemplify exhibit varying degrees of generality. The more specific or determinate a shared universal, the closer is the resulting attribute agreement. Universals, then, come in hierarchies of generality. Presumably, every such hierarchy terminates in fully determinate universals, universals such that they have no less general or more determinate universals under them, and the particulars that jointly exemplify any such fully determinate universal will agree exactly in color, shape, kind, spatial relation, or whatever.

    So particulars exemplify different sorts of universals of varying degrees of generality; but realists want to claim that the universals that serve to explain the attribute agreement among particulars can themselves agree in exemplifying further universals. Thus, the properties of red, yellow, and blue have various properties of tone and hue; they all belong to the kind color; and they enter into relations like being lighter than and being darker than. And, of course, the universals exemplified by colors can be more or less determinate, thereby explaining why, for example, red is closer to orange than blue is.

  6. s.A says:

    >Thus, the original insight that familiar particulars agree in attribute by virtue of jointly exemplifying a universal gives rise to a picture of considerable complexity. Particulars and n-tuples of particulars exemplify universals of different types: properties, kinds, and relations. Those universals, in turn, possess further properties, belong to further kinds, and enter into further relations; the same is true of these further properties, kinds, and relations; and so on, seemingly, without end. And the seemingly endless series of universals that have come on the scene enter into complicated hierarchies of generality inducing thereby complex patterns of attribute agreement of varying degrees of generality What began, then, as an apparently innocent extension of common sense has blossomed into a full-scale metaphysical theory, an ontology, that is a long distance from common sense.

    Some might balk at the complexity of the theory, but realists want to insist that the complexity of the structure has a theoretical pay-off. The structure represents a fruitful theory, one with the resources for explaining a wide range of phenomena. Although the phenomena realists claim their account explains are diverse and numerous, we will consider just two. Both bear on semantical issues, and both have played significant roles in the history of metaphysical realism. The first concerns subject-predicate discourse; the second bears on abstract reference. According to the realist, both phenomena give rise to pressing philosophical questions, and the realist insists that the theoretical machinery associated with metaphysical realism provides straightforward and satisfying answers to those questions.

  7. s.A says:

    >http://www.elenakosilova.narod.ru/studia/loux.htm

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