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Priority Nominalism

Grounding Ostrich Nominalism as a Solution to the Problem of Universals

  • Details a new solution to an old problem of metaphysics

  • Proposes a new “grounded” version of Quine’s Ostrich Nominalism

  • Considers all possible formulations and approaches to the Problem of Universals


Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 397)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Guido Imaguire
    Pages 1-18
  3. Guido Imaguire
    Pages 19-26
  4. Guido Imaguire
    Pages 27-50
  5. Guido Imaguire
    Pages 83-110
  6. Guido Imaguire
    Pages 111-140
  7. Guido Imaguire
    Pages 141-165
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 167-171

About this book


This monograph details a new solution to an old problem of metaphysics. It presents an improved version of Ostrich Nominalism to solve the Problem of Universals. This innovative approach allows one to resolve the different formulations of the Problem, which represents an important meta-metaphysical achievement.

In order to accomplish this ambitious task, the author appeals to the notion and logic of ontological grounding. Instead of defending Quine’s original principle of ontological commitment, he proposes the principle of grounded ontological commitment. This represents an entirely new application of grounding.

Some metaphysicians regard Ostrich Nominalism as a rejection of the problem rather than a proper solution to it. To counter this, the author presents solutions for each of the formulations. These include: the problem of predication, the problem of abstract reference, and the One Over Many as well as the Many Over One and the Similar but Different variants.

This book will appeal to anyone interested in contemporary metaphysics. It will also serve as an ideal resource to scholars working on the history of philosophy. Many will recognize in the solution insights resembling those of traditional philosophers, especially of the Middle Ages.


Quine Nominalism Problem of Universals Ontological Grounding Ostrich Nominalism Quine Realism Metaphysical Priority Quine Properties Ontological Commitment Meta-metaphysics Ontological Logic Quine ontological commitment grounded ontological commitment Ostrich Nominalism predication Ostrich Nominalism abstract reference One Over Many formulation Quine On What There Is Devitt Ostrich Nominalism van Cleve Predication Without Universals Fine The Pure Logic of Grounding One Over Many formulation

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Universidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

About the authors

Guido Imaguire received his Ph.D. at the University of Munich, and spent a year at the University of Oxford (2014-15). Since 2009 he teaches metaphysics, logic and philosophy of language at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Books: Russells Frühphilosophy, On Denoting 1995-2005 (with B. Linsky), Possible Worlds (with D. Jacquette), among others, and many articles on metaphysics, philosophy of mathematics, logic and philosophy of language.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Priority Nominalism
  • Book Subtitle Grounding Ostrich Nominalism as a Solution to the Problem of Universals
  • Authors Guido Imaguire
  • Series Title Synthese Library
  • Series Abbreviated Title Synthese Library
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-95003-7
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-06952-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-95004-4
  • Series ISSN 0166-6991
  • Series E-ISSN 2542-8292
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVII, 171
  • Number of Illustrations 4 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Metaphysics
    Medieval Literature
    Medieval Philosophy
    Philosophy of Language
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