Butchvarov, Panayot. 1966. Resemblance and Identity. An Examination of the Problem of Universals. Bloomington: Indiana University
Contents: Preface IX-XIV; Introduction 3; 1. The nominalist theory 16, 2. The identity and the resemblance theories 56; 3. The relation of
resemblance 101; 4. Generic identity 135; Conclusion 173; Bibliography 199; Index 205.
"The first task of this essay, therefore, is the development of a distinctive and philosophically useful notion of universal, and of a
corresponding statement of the problem of universals as a separate philosophical issue. Its second task is the solution of the so-stated problem of universals.
Roughly, I shall identify the notion of universal with that of universal quality, in a very wide sense of the word "quality" to be explained in section 1. And
I shall offer an explanation of the notion of universal quality that does not depend on the employment of the technical philosophical terms "universal,"
"particular," or "abstract." I shall identify the problem of universals with the question whether there are universal qualities, i.e., whether the qualities of
individual things are universal or particular, or, as I shall actually state it without the use of the terms "universal" and "particular," whether certain
qualities of individual things should be described as being one and the same quality or distinct qualities related by a relation of resemblance. Other
questions concerning universals, I believe, are either consequences or under modifications of this primary problem, or else independent philosophical issues
having no special relation to the puzzles concerning universals. That this is so will become evident, I hope, in the course of our inquiry, especially in
sections 1, 2, 5, 13, 17, and 18. But I shall not engage in the historical and exegetic investigations necessary for an actual proof of this claim. My
statement of the problem of universals, in particular the identification of the notion of universal with that of universal quality, accords well with important
traditional conceptions, such as "the universal is common, since that is called universal which is such as to belong to more than one thing" (Aristotle), and
"the universal is that which is in many and of many" (Albert the Great). But does it not fail to take account of the second part of the equally important
traditional question "whether genera and species really exist or are bare notions only; and if they exist whether they are corporeal things, or incorporeal and
rather separated, or whether they exist in things perceived by the senses and in relation to them," (Porphyry)? For it seems to exclude from consideration one
of the major theories of universals: that "genera and species exist not in sensibles but in separation from sensibles," and that universals may exist even if
they have no instances. Now if this theory amounts to the claim that qualities, whether particular or universal, need not be qualities of individual things,
that the notions of genus and species can be explained independently of those of instantiation or participation, then indeed we need not consider it, since, in
virtue of the very notions of quality, genus, and species, it is obviously false. But the theory need not be interpreted so crudely as to become obviously
false. It can be interpreted as claiming that there is an enormous, categorial difference between individual things and universal qualities and that because of
this difference the senses in which universal qualities can be said to exist and to be in space and time, and the senses in which individual things can be said
to exist and to be in space and time are so different that one can assert the existence of a quality on the ground that it can have instances, even if in fact
it has not. I shall consider this claim at the end of the book. But the logically prior questions are, "What is a universal quality?" and "Are there universal
qualities?" It is mainly to these questions that I shall address myself in this essay. In many ways the problem of universals is the paradigm of a
philosophical problem. It bears virtually no resemblance to any issue of experimental science. It is supremely general, in the sense that it concerns a certain
fact about all qualities, in any actual or possible world, in complete abstraction from circumstances and contexts. And it is neither overtly nor disguisedly a
problem about philosophy, one which is of interest to philosophers only because of their self-consciousness about the status and possibility of their
discipline. Perhaps this is why writers on the problem of universals are especially tempted to connect their inquiries with considerations about philosophical
method. I have succumbed to this temptation, mainly in Chapter Three. In content, if not in style, this essay is intended to be metaphysical. Part of its
purpose is to demonstrate, in the context of a specific philosophical topic, that at least one branch of philosophy is a legitimate cognitive discipline that
has as its subject matter, not certain features of language or of mathematics, but the essential and most general characteristics of the world."
———. 1970. The Concept of Knowledge. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.
Contents: Part One: Primary knowledge 3; Part Two: The objects of a priori knowledge 99; Part Three: Primary Perceptual knowledge 185; Part
Four: Derivative knowledge 267; Index 321-325.
"Part One of this book attempts an account of the general concept of knowledge, especially as it is employed in what I shall call primary
epistemic judgments, that is, judgments of the form "A knows that p" which would not typically be in need of justification by appeal to other epistemic
judgments. (Epistemic judgments that are in need of such justification I shall call derivative, and I shall make a corresponding distinction between primary
and derivative knowledge.) We shall find that this account leads to, indeed demands and at the same time illuminates, the division of all knowledge into a
priori and a posteriori. But unless then a detailed elucidation of this division is provided, the general account of the concept of knowledge would remain
skeletal. There are two questions in particular that such an elucidation must answer. First, what are the objects of a priori knowledge? Second, what is the
nature of primary a posteriori knowledge? Our account of the concept of knowledge, like most such accounts, requires that the object of knowledge be a certain
truth or fact. But what, if anything, could be an a priori (or necessary) truth or fact? Our account, again in common with most, requires the distinction
between primary and derivative knowledge. But can this distinction be made good with respect to our sense-perceptual knowledge of the "external" world of
bodies, which is the paradigm and most extensive segment of a posteriori knowledge? That the answers to these questions are not at all settled should be
obvious. Yet, unless it includes such answers, an account of the general concept of knowledge cannot be accepted as satisfactory. Part Two of this book will
attempt to provide an answer to the first question, and Part Three an answer to the second.
The consideration of a posteriori knowledge in Part Three raises with particular urgency the question of the possibility and nature of
derivative knowledge. This is not surprising. That question concerns chiefly derivative a posteriori knowledge, the nature of derivative a priori knowledge
being largely the concern of formal logic and its possibility generally unquestioned. The crucial issue regarding derivative a posteriori knowledge is the
legitimacy of nondemonstrative inference. In Part Four we return to our inquiry into the general concept of knowledge, but this time with special attention to
the issue of nondemonstrative inference and to the nature of derivative knowledge in general, and provide further reasons in support of the chief thesis of
I shall not, however, discuss the usual philosophical problems about the validity of certain particular kinds of derivative knowledge (e.g.,
of the future, of bodies, of other minds). Each of these requires careful, detailed treatment in its own right; nothing is gained by sweeping proclamations or
refutations of skepticism. And since these problems constitute the familiar subject matter of the theory of knowledge, I offer here only an introduction to
that branch of philosophy and not a theory of knowledge as such. Indeed, as is well known, the sort of theory of knowledge one proposes, and most of its
tenets, are largely determined by the account one offers of the fundamental epistemic concepts. It is important, however, that such an account be given first
and that it be uninfluenced by one's epistemological convictions. For, true or false, these convictions have philosophical value only insofar as they are
justified, and their justification cannot be attempted without an account of the key concepts involved. Thus the reader may come to think that our inquiry
leads to skepticism. In this, as I shall explain, he would be mistaken. But even if he were not, I would regard such a consequence as acceptable, as long as
the rejection of skepticism is not itself grounded in investigations such as ours. Our respect for common sense must not be confused with the possession of a
philosophical answer to skepticism. In philosophy, as in any other purely theoretical discipline, it is better to be wrong as the result of inquiry and
argument than to be right as the result of mere conviction. The layman who takes the existence of an external world for granted may be right, and the
philosophical skeptic whose inquiries lead him to deny the existence of an external world may be wrong. But the skeptic is the philosopher, and the layman is
not." pp. 4-5
———. 1979. Being Qua Being. A Theory of Identity, Existence, and Predication. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Contents: Acknowledgments IX; Introduction 1; 1. The apparent distinctness of Identicals 9; 2. Objects and entities 39; 3. Indiscernibility
64; 4. Existence 82; 5. essence 122; 6. Substances 154; 7. qualities 184; 8. Accidental connections 212; Appendix A. Relations 239; Appendix B. Idealism 248;
Notes 256; Index 267.
"The inquiry into being qua being has been identified with metaphysics. But it would be better to use the term "metaphysics" more broadly,
namely, for the branch of philosophy that has as its subject matter the nature of the world, or of reality, rather than the nature of our knowledge, or of our
language, or of our sciences about the world. We may then distinguish several levels of metaphysical inquiry. On the least fundamental level metaphysics is
concerned with the most general description of the actual world, with the most general kinds of things there are and with the way they fit together. It asks
such questions as whether God exists, whether there are both minds and bodies or only minds or only bodies, and if there are both minds and bodies, how they
are related. On this level it is closely connected with epistemology, since the main philosophical difficulties such questions pose for us are epistemological
On a more fundamental level, presupposed by the first, metaphysics inquires into the nature of all possible, or at least all conceivable,
comprehensible worlds, and thus only indirectly into the nature of the actual world. Can there be a world that consists only of individuals and not also of
properties and relations? Or a world that consists only of properties and relations? Can there be nonidentical but indiscernible things? Questions related to
those on the previous level can now be asked in complete independence from the usual epistemological considerations. Can there be a world unless there is God?
Can there be a world without bodies? Without minds? On this level metaphysics is closely connected with logic. (Immediately following his introduction of the
notion of a science of being qua being Aristotle offers a defense of the laws of non-contradiction and excluded middle.) But this connection is no more limited
to formal logic than the notion of necessary truth is limited to the truths of forma logic. The criterion of possibility on which it would rely can hardly be
mere forma consistency; it must be conceivability or comprehensibility (not of propositions, but of what propositions purport to describe), for, whether we
like it or not, we have no other general and ultimate criterion of possibility.
This is why, on this level, metaphysics is also connected with phenomenology, i.e., with the philosophical description of the most genera
character of the objects of consciousness qua objects of consciousness.
On the third and most fundamental level metaphysics is concerned with the concepts and principles on the basis of which the questions
belonging to the other two levels, i.e., the questions about what things there are or at least there can be, must be answered. Instead of there questions, it
asks, what is it for something to be in a world, or for something to be a world? It is on this level, I suggest, that metaphysics is best described as the
inquiry into being qua being, or, we might also say, as protometaphysics. Any conception of a world presupposes the conception of what it is for something to
exist in that world. Any conception of a thing presupposes the conception of what it is for it to be the subject of predication, both accidental and essential.
Any conception of a thing presupposes the conception of what it is for it to be identifiable, not in the sense of being merely singled out but also in the
sense of being singled out again or in a different way, of being recognized, of being the subject of a true informative identity judgment.
It follows that the concepts of existence, identity, essential predication, and accidental predication cannot be understood as standing for
constituents of the world, presumably for certain properties or relations. They are the concepts in terms of which we must understand what it is for something
to be in the world, what it is for something to have a property or be related to another thing, and what it is for something to be a property or a relation.
Yet they apply to any possible world; indeed nothing would be a world were it not for their applicability to it. We may call such concepts, which apply without
standing for anything, transcendental. The inquiry into being qua being, or protometaphysics, may then be called a transcendental inquiry.
Now the central thesis of this book is that the concepts of existence, identity, accidental predication, and essential predication are
intimately related, and moreover that the concept of identity is basic and the other three are to be understood in terms of it. I shall argue that the four
puzzles with which we began admit of a common solution, the key to which is to be found in a careful study of the second puzzle, that regarding identity. It is
a solution based on a distinction between what I shall call objects and entities. A similar, but not the same, distinction has often been made, most notably by
Meinong but also by recent possible-worlds semanticists, in treatments of the first puzzle, that regarding existence. But there it rests on the proposition
that there are things of which it is true that there are no such things, a proposition that, I suggest, cannot be made coherent, let alone plausible, except on
the basis of considerations external to the topic of existence. A similar, but again not the same, distinction has also been made, e.g., by Carnap and Sellars,
in treatments of an aspect of the second puzzle, namely, the seeming failure of the principle of the Indiscernibility of identicals in intentional and modal
contexts; I have in mind the distinction between individuals and individual concepts. But if an individual concept is indeed a concept, or at all like a
concept, then it is not the object of the propositional attitude, or the subject of the modal property, with respect to which the principle seems to fail, and
therefore its relevance is obscure. If it is not really a concept, then how does it differ from the individual with which it is associated? Again, I believe
that these questions can be answered only on the basis of considerations both far more general and much deeper than the seeming discernibility of identicals in
intentional and modal contexts." pp. 3-5 (notes omitted).
———. 1998. Skepticism About the External World. New York: Oxford University Press.
Contents: Introduction 3; 1. Direct realism 12; 2. The Adverbial theory 35; 3. The skeptic's argument 56; 4. A first answer to the skeptic
89; 5. Our concept of reality 111; 6. The untruth and the truth of skepticism 133; Notes 159; Index 179.
"We are now ready to attempt another answer to the skeptic, one based on the preceding considerations regarding the concept of reality. Can
what I have called the particular (nonmodal epistemic) question, namely, Do we know or at least have evidence, in some particular perceptual situation, that
what we perceive is a real material object? be given a nonskeptical answer, just as in chapter 4 I gave a non skeptical answer to the general (non-modal
epistemic) question, namely, Do we know or at least have evidence that material objects exist? If it can, then we would also have a second nonskeptical answer
to the general question, since a nonskeptical answer to the particular question entails a nonskeptical answer to the general question, though not vice versa.
Thus my argument in chapter 4 in favor of the latter would receive welcome supplementation. But, as we shall see, we would still need that argument at a
crucial point in our search in this chapter for a complete nonskeptical answer to the particular question. The fact is that both answers are needed. There is
no circularity here, since the argument in chapter 4 is independent of the argument to be offered in this chapter, It's just that the converse is not quite the
Clearly. the question whether a certain perceptual object exists, is real, cannot be answered unless an account of the concept of existence,
reality, is offered, even though this fact has been generally ignored by recent Anglo-American philosophers of perception (in striking contrast with
continental philosophers). I have already said why Russell's account in terms of the satisfaction of a propositional function is unacceptable; it presupposes a
more fundamental concept of existence, which would allow us to decide what to count as admissible arguments of the function and what not to so count. And the
familiar proposal that the reality of an object consists in its fitting in the spatiotemporal causal system of the world is conceptually circular; it
presupposes the concept of reality, for of course the system in question must be a system of real objects, and the causal relations in it must also be real,
rather than imaginary, if the "fitting in" is to be even relevant. For similar reasons. also conceptually circular is the Kantian-phenomenalist account, as I
argued in chapter 5.
The failures of those accounts should not be surprising if the existence, the reality, of an object cannot be thought of as one of its
properties, relational or nonrelational. It certainly is not observable, and we would he indulging in mere fantasy if we suppose that it is somehow hidden in
or behind the object that exists. I have argued that we should think of existence as the indefinite identifiability of the object to which it is attributed, in
the sense that there is an indefinite number of objects with each of which it is identical. But their identity is not something in reality. Rather it is
imposed on them by our decisions to apply the concept of identity, The same can be said about the concept of existence, reality, since it is to be understood
in terms of the concept of identity. Both are transcendental concepts." pp. 133-134