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universals,in philosophy, term applied to general or abstract objects such as concepts, qualities, relations, and numbers, as opposed to particular objects. The exact nature of a universal deeply concerned thinkers in the Middle Ages. The extreme realists, following Plato, maintained that universals exist independently of both the human mind and particular things. In nominalismnominalism,
in philosophy, a theory of the relation between universals and particulars. Nominalism gained its name in the Middle Ages, when it was contrasted with realism.
..... Click the link for more information. universals are considered arbitrary constructions of the human mind. In conceptualismconceptualism,
in philosophy, position taken on the problem of universals, initially by Peter Abelard in the 12th cent. Like nominalism it denied that universals exist independently of the mind, but it held that universals have an existence in the mind as concept.
..... Click the link for more information. universals exist only in the mind, as concepts, but they are not arbitrary, as they reflect similarities among particular things. Conceptualism led to the moderate realismrealism,
in philosophy. 1 In medieval philosophy realism represented a position taken on the problem of universals. There were two schools of realism. Extreme realism, represented by William of Champeaux, held that universals exist independently of both the human mind and
..... Click the link for more information. of St. Thomas Aquinas and John of Salisbury.
See R. I. Aaron, Theory of Universals (2d ed. 1967); D. M. Armstrong, Universals and Scientific Realism (2 vol., 1980).
a medieval philosophical term signifying general concepts or ideas. In the debate over universals, which from the tenth to 14th centuries tried to elucidate the ontological status of general concepts (that is, the question of their real, objective existence), three trends appeared: nominalism, which regarded universals as general names; conceptualism, which construed universals as generalizations based on resemblances of objects; and realism, which supposed that universals existed in reality and independently from consciousness (universalia sunt realia).