Scholastic Realism and Predication

Scholastic Realism and Predication

via: http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2010/03/scholastic-realism-and-predication.html

This post continues our explorations in the philosophy of The School.

What is a scholastic realist?

John Peterson (Introduction to Scholastic Realism, Peter Lang, 1999, p. 6) defines a scholastic realist as follows:

S is a scholastic realist =df i) S is a moderate realist and ii) S believes that universals exist in some transcendent mind, i.e., the mind of God.

A moderate realist is defined like this:

S is a moderate realist =df i) S denies that universals exist transcendently and ii) S affirms that universals exist immanently both in matter and minds.

 A universal exists transcendently just in case it exists “independently of matter and mind.”

One who holds that universals exist independently of matter and mind is a Platonic or extreme realist.

A moderate realist who is not a scholastic realist Peterson describes as an Aristotelian realist.

Such a philosopher is a moderate realist who “denies that universals exist in some transcendent mind.” […]

In sum, and interpreting a bit:

Platonic or extreme  realist:  maintains that there are universals and that they can exist transcendently, i.e., unexemplified (uninstantiatied) and so apart from matter and mind.

Moderate realist:  denies that there are any transcendent universals and maintains that universals exist only immanently in minds and in matter.

Scholastic realist: moderate realist who believes that there is a transcendent mind in which universals exist.

Aristotelian realist:  moderate realist who denies that there is a transcendent mind in which universals exist.

So much for terminology.

What I would like to understand is moderate realism as Peterson defines it, which is essentially the moderate realism of Thomas Aquinas.

(To anticipate my conclusion, the Thomistic position is exceedingly obscure and perhaps unintelligible.)

In particular, what I want to understand is the second clause of Peterson’s definition.

I want to understand what it would be for universals to exist both in matter and in minds.

Now in order to understand a philosophical position, one must understand the positions it excludes and the arguments it adduces to exclude them.

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