The Problem of Universals in Early Modern Philosophy

ISBN : 9780190608040

Tad M. Schmaltz; Stefano Di Bella
344 ページ
156 x 235 mm

The ancient topic of universals was central to scholastic philosophy, which raised the question of whether universals exist as Platonic forms, as instantiated Aristotelian forms, as concepts abstracted from singular things, or as words that have universal signification. It might be thought that this question lost its importance after the decline of scholasticism in the modern period. However, the fourteen contributions contained in The Problem of Univerals in Early Modern Philosophy indicate that the issue of universals retained its vitality in modern philosophy. Modern philosophers in fact were interested in 3 sets of issues concerning universals: (i) issues concerning the ontological status of universals, (ii) issues concerning the psychology of the formation of universal concepts or terms, and (iii) issues concerning the value and use of universal concepts or terms in the acquisition of knowledge. Chapters in this volume consider the various forms of "Platonism," "conceptualism" and "nominalism" (and distinctive combinations thereof) that emerged from the consideration of such issues in the work of modern philosophers. Furthermore, this volume covers not only the canonical modern figures, namely, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant, but also more neglected figures such as Pierre Gassendi, Pierre-Sylvain Regis, Nicolas Malebranche, Henry More, Ralph Cudworth and John Norris.


1. Introduction to Universals in Modern Philosophy Stefano Di Bella and Tad M. Schmaltz
2. Gassendi on the Problem of Universals Antonia LoLordo
3. Hobbes, Universal Names, and Nominalism Stewart Duncan
4. Spinoza on Universals Samuel Newlands
5. Descartes on Universal Essences and Divine Knowledge Lawrence Nolan
6. Platonism and Conceptualism among the Cartesians Tad M. Schmaltz
7. Universals and Individuals in Malebranche's Philosophy Mariangela Priarolo
8. Universals in English Platonism: More, Cudworth, Norris Brunello Lotti
9. Some Perspectives on Leibniz's Nominalism and Its Sources Stefano Di Bella
10. Locke's Essay and Leibniz's Nouveaux Essais: Competing Theories of Universals Martha Brandt Bolton
11. Locke on General Ideas E. J. Lowe
12. Berkeley on Abstraction, Universals and Universal Knowledge Tom Stoneham
13. Hume on Abstraction and Identity Donald L. M. Baxter
14. Kant on Abstractionism about Concept Formation Alberto Vanzo


Stephano Di Bella is Professor of The History of Philosophy at the University of Milan. Tad Schmaltz is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan.