The Jowett Society (Friday - Week 8, TT21)

Philosophical Society

We are Fregean realists. Very roughly speaking, this means that we believe in a vast type-hierarchy of higher-order entities, and we insist that the typing is strict, so that every entity has a unique type. For example: we believe in properties, but we never confuse properties with objects.

Our question in this paper is whether Fregean realists should believe in universals as well as properties. By ‘universals’, we mean object-level correlates of properties, such as wisdom, mortality and the colour blue. There are good reasons to reject the existence of universals, but various natural language constructions appear to force us to believe in them. We explore a fictionalist response to this problem. Our fictionalist theory of universals allows us to speak as if universals existed, whilst denying that any really do.

Jowett Society Organising Committee: Sophie Nagler | Jowett Society Website