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nominalism

Syllabification: nom·i·nal·ism
Pronunciation: /ˈnämənəˌlizəm
 
/

Definition of nominalism in English:

noun

Philosophy
The doctrine that universals or general ideas are mere names without any corresponding reality, and that only particular objects exist; properties, numbers, and sets are thought of as merely features of the way of considering the things that exist. Important in medieval scholastic thought, nominalism is associated particularly with William of Occam. Often contrasted with realism (sense 3).
Example sentences
  • Traditional, central, philosophical debates, such as those between realism and nominalism in regard to universals, are purportedly deflated by Wittgensteinian approaches.
  • His unorthodox approach to art is part of a general approach to knowledge and reality, and is always pervasively informed by his cognitivism, nominalism, relativism, and constructivism.
  • His approach is broadly nominalistic, but Buridan's nominalism is more of a parsimonious way of doing philosophy than a doctrine about universals.

Origin

mid 19th century: from French nominalisme, from nominal 'relating to names' (see nominal).

Derivatives

nominalist

1
noun
Example sentences
  • In this one respect at least, Adorno is like Goodman and Quine - he is a committed nominalist.
  • Those who think there is some actual universal existing outside the mind are called realists; those who deny extra-mental universals are called nominalists.
  • Like Ockham, he is a nominalist, although this term must be used with caution in later medieval philosophy because of the modern tendency to identify it simply with the denial of real universals.

nominalistic

2
Pronunciation: /ˌnämənəˈlistik/
adjective
Example sentences
  • His approach is broadly nominalistic, but Buridan's nominalism is more of a parsimonious way of doing philosophy than a doctrine about universals.
  • The fragility of this harmony was first exposed by the nominalistic philosophy of William of Ockham (later adopted by Martin Luther).
  • Events such as these convinced many Europeans that Christianity and politics are mutually exclusive, and may have had a more direct impact on common folk than did Ockham's nominalistic turn.

Definition of nominalism in:

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