Resemblance and Identity

An Examination of the Problem of Universals

by Panayot Butchvarov

What is a universal quality? Do universal qualities even exist? Are universals to be understood as Platonic ideas, as archetypal forms in existence ante res? Or are they rather to be taken as Aristotelian actualities, in rebus, inherent in things? Or again, may they be classi- fied as general notions, as names which the human intellect has bestowed on them, post res, with the aid of language? These are some of the questions Mr. Butchvarov asks as he analyzes the literature of the subject and presents his own fresh solution to the age-old problem of universals.

Combining profundity of thought with a clear and graceful style, the author examines closely the various theories of universals—Nominalist, Identity, Resemblance—and sets forth their strengths and weaknesses. Disputing the alleged "near impossibility" of separating and classifying the problem of universals from other philosophical issues, he unrelentingly seeks to define the terminology employed, whether his own or those of adherents of other points of view. The result is a refreshingly lucid, new approach to the topic which will be of unique value to professional philosophers and students of philosophy alike.


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    Indiana University Press
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    Bloomington, Indiana USA
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    Copyright © Trustees of Indiana University
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    Indiana University Press
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