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   A lot of philosophy is assumed as ideas are passed back and forth. One unfamiliar medieval “package” may have more modern currency than many realize:

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Nominalism

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For more use the DOOR.

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   Nominalism¹ |ˈnäminəˌlizəm| 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).

   Realism3 Philosophy the doctrine that universals or abstract concepts have an objective or absolute existence. The theory that universals have their own reality is sometimes called Platonic realism because it was first outlined by Plato’s doctrine of “forms” or ideas. Often contrasted with nominalism.

   Often contrasted with idealism, by the way.

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   [The Oxford Online Dictionary definition above has been fiddled with–partly modified, colored, and boldfaced.

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      Does such nominalistic thinking inform, or challenge, scientific theory or thinking today?

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   ¹ This line of thinking is commonly associated with William of Occam (or Ockham) 1285-13490, the English philosopher and Franciscan friar. Also see Occam’s Razor (The next post).