universals and individuals

I think there should be a discussion about this here.
If a person was to take on an ideal of universalism, would this exclude for them the possibility of individuals?
If one were to be a strict individualist, would this exclude the possibility of universals?
Doesn’t it seem to be common sense that we have to have both in order to think about objects at all?
I think that the problem with both of these is obvious.
It seems we can’t conceptualize similarity of objects without some universal concept by which to categorize them, but we commonly make distinctions between objects which are obviously, or intuitively not the same. This seems problematic for the universalist.
It’s easy to take the side of the universalist by removing the property of spatio-temporality of universals and postulating them either inside or outside of objects and percieving their instantiation and causal force as only present in the individual. But what about a strict individualist perspective? How might one try and debunk universalism from an individualist point of view? (other than to say that without it we can’t make distinctions at all with any substantive epistemological status)
Some might say that perspectivism accounts for both, as perspectives are individual, but functionally similar (maybe universal; where are my neuroscientists!?), but I’m not sure that this actually works when we consider the dictates of mathematics and logic as something inherently truthful and take note of anomalies which occur in neuroscientific research and theoretical physics.

  1. What kind of an understanding of objects without both a universal and a particular concept can we have with a higher epistemological status than perspectivism provides?
  2. Does an individualist have to deny that common functions of neuroscience can provide a universal notion, (or transcendental deduction of the categories), by which we make categorizations of objects in order to avoid falling victim to universalism? If so, then how should one go about this while maintaing a coherent notion of sameness amongst individuals?
  3. What kind of epistemological status must objects and uninstantiated non-spatiotemporal universals have in order to make reasonable use of the objects that we perceive?
  4. Is there something unique about relations between things, (such as in math and logic which might be accepted because of internal consistency and content neutrality), which can give us a better understanding of the functions of metaphysics and provide the epistemological status that we want for science while still accomodating our day to day intuitions?

This is really just a starting point for what I hope will be an interesting thread.
I’m not sure yet as to where this conversation might go, but hopefully we can supress our egos and have a decent conversation here.
Hopefully we can avoid any authoritarian metaphysicians who don’t have the patience to enlighten me.

Post your thoughts and let’s stick the the topic please.
If you have questions rather than answers, post them as well.

This whole question of a ‘new ontology’ hinges on the unfolded dialectic of “Individuals” (particulars) and “classes” (universals). Maybe you should give a little more credit to perspectivism: the function of the observer is to distinguish: motion from space, light from dark, sense from nonsense. Everything that is said is said by an observer: how, then, could we overlook the subject and hope to reconstruct a transcendent unity around his null space?

The emptiness of the subject-place is precisely the issue in universalist politics. Where is democracy today? An ironic question, of course, but the funny answer is that it’s everywhere: the free market has indeed ‘democratized’ just about everything, the market as an intelligent machine at this point, which just follows the ‘natural’ patterns we trained it to, and now–it’s more or less unstoppable. But even Marxists are supposed to have faith in the system, to a certain degree.

Capitalism is supposed to reign before it reaches the critical point, and collapses from its own hypocrisy (more or less) and then (and only then) could true communism occur-- after all, it presupposes a hyper-industrialization of all social processes. This means that a universalist democratic project might actually be a way of helping out the entire planet. Bush’s stupid selfish idiotic idea may be a brilliant one coming out of some idealistic young democrats mouth twenty years from now. Who knows? The point is that trying to determine whether it’s the ‘subject’ who acts in history or whether ‘objective’ historical forces combine to produce human subjectivity, they are always found together, so that they are braided so tight they cannot be untangled through transcendence, only through critical dissection. There’s no easy way out of the political knot–we have to work our way through it and out of it. As far as I know, there’s no Gordian knot-trick that wouldn’t also destroy society, by unravelling it by force.

/would get to your other questions, but i think that’s enough for now! :slight_smile:

I could give more credit to perspectivism I suppose, and I was hoping for this to get to a point where I could bring up the problem of observation. Perspectivism though has its limits that seem to prevent it from satisfying my desire for a particular understanding or a higher standard of evidence.
I don’t so much want to know how we categorize things in general as much as how certain things must be categorized.

I really wish I could get some more posts here. It seems like when I really want to do some philosophy no one responds. Maybe I should make a weed joke?

the relations we posit on things are metaphysics…

math, logic, language, description, “science” are all human inventions that are imposed from without…


What’s so wrong about humans’ inventions?

There could be a debate about whether logic is invented by us or discovered by us. I guess…