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Universals (Central Problems of Philosophy) Paperback – September, 2001

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Product Details

  • Series: Central Problems of Philosophy
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Mcgill Queens Univ Pr (September 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0773522697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0773522695
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #769,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A comprehensive treatment of the problem of universals from both an historical and present-day perspective, surveying all of the leading approaches and portraying their strengths and weaknesses in an even-handed way. Exposition and arguments are clear and succinct. A worthy contribution to the literature in its topic." E.J. Lowe, Department of Philosophy, University of Durham

About the Author

More About the Author

With degrees in philosophy, theology, and chemistry, I have taught theology and philosophy at several schools throughout the U.S. I have authored or co-authored several dozen books including Kingdom Triangle, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview; Christianity and the Nature of Science; Scaling the Secular City; Does God Exist?; Immortality: The Other Side of Death; and The Life and Death Debate: Moral Issues of Our Times. I am a co-editor of Christian Perspectives on Being Human and Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus. My academic work appears in journals and periodicals such as Christianity Today, Philosophia Christi, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, and The American Philosophical Quarterly. I served with Campus Crusade for 10 years, planted two churches, and I have spoken on over 200 college campuses. Presently, my wife and I attend the Anaheim Vineyard Christian Fellowship.

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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Bradley on November 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent critique of nominalist and extreme nominalist views regarding universals, and a strong defense of the realist position. This should be required reading for everyone studying metaphysics. While arguing persuasively for his position, Moreland fairly and comprehensively explains every major position in this dispute (which is foundational to the rest of philosophy). It is perhaps too advanced for all but the most dedicated undergraduates, but it is accessible to graduate level students with little previous training in philosophy. Numerous charts illustrate key distinctions and make the book particularly helpful for reviewing the competing positions.
Dr. Moreland is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Biola University, where he teaches in the MA Philosophy of Religion and Ethics program.
This book is part of Mc-Gill-Queen's University Press' Central Problems of Philosophy series.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Soucy on March 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
Universals aims to be an introductory work on the issues of Universals aimed at undergraduates and professional philosophers, highlighting the various theories and ways of addressing the problems. In this aim, it is successful. It also aspires to be a defense of traditional realism, as well as a critique of the various other attempts at understanding properties. In this aim, it is not.

For the first goal, I will give a brief summary. The way properties are understood varies. There are three ways to do this; Extreme Nominalism (the claim that qualities are not real, but some convenient fiction), Moderate Nominalism (the claim that qualities are real, but they are particulars),and Realism (the claim that qualities are real, and that they are universals). Moreland goes through each of these and explains how they answer certain questions involving (1) Predication, (2) Exact Similarity, and (3) Abstract Reference (properties themselves which have properties which stand in relation to other properties). He provides a more than adequate overview of each, as well as helpful principles regarding Identity, along with real distinctions, reason distinctions and modal distinctions.

For the second aim, I'm afraid Moreland fails. This, however, is not a matter of poor argumentation. On the contrary, Moreland demonstrates a wonderful ability to reason through puzzles and understand the issues at hand. To begin with, Moreland accepts that those who prefer Extreme Nominalism (EN) are normally starting from a point of parsimony. It will be helpful to go into brief detail about this point. The author supposes that this is epistemic rather than metaphysical.
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