Resemblance realism A theory of universals
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The main contenders in the contemporary debate over the existence of universals are the immanent realism of David Armstrong, which is to some extent a refurbished version of Aristotelian realism, and the resemblance nominalism of Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra that takes universals to be words denoting particulars resembling each other. But there remains an unexplored via media, that I call 'resemblance realism', according to which universals are objective relations of resemblance between particulars (i.e., particular substances and particular properties). In the present work I propose to develop the latter hypothesis. I proceed, first, by arguing in favor of the existence of substances, particular properties, and objective relations, including relations of resemblance. On these grounds, I develop the thesis that resemblances are universals. I argue that resemblances are identical with generic unities, and that, since generic unities are universals, resemblances are universals. As such, universals must be polyadic resemblances. The external consistency of resemblance realism is henceforth tested against prevalent theories of mathematical objects (numbers, ratios, proportions, etc.), theories of laws of nature, and theories of biological taxonomy. Resemblance realism allows for the abandonment of monadic property-universals, so it has the advantage of being more parsimonious than Aristotelian realism, while also being superior to nominalism with regards to truthmaking issues.