Archive for October, 2011

Universals and Particulars (2): Universals and Infinite Regresses

October 15, 2011


In this post, I argue that infinite regresses are not successful philosophical explanations. An infinite regress of concepts cannot ground understanding; nor can an infinite regress of beings ground the existence of another being. Thus, postulating an infinite regress of universals such as “having a universal” cannot ultimately answer the question “what is the thing that has a universal?”

In the first post in this series, I explained the distinction between universals and particulars. The existence of universals is supported by the argument from exact resemblance. But the same reasoning that leads us to postulate universals in the first place seems to suggest that “having a universal” is a universal. And that leads to an infinite regress of universals. But then why bother saying particulars are an underlying reality that possess universals? Why not just say that particulars are infinite chains of universals, each with one (or more) different properties to individuate them? This post intends to answer that question. (more…)