Moderate realism is a position on universals that holds the 'universality' of universals to be an aspect of universals that is added on by the mind in concepts through abstraction, and that 'universals' actually only exist in individual things. Therefore, the object of a 'universal' is truly numerically distinct. What causes our being aware of a common and communicable quality is the 'similarity' between the instantiations.

No instantiation is held to be identical, but they are supposedly very, very 'similar'. However, what makes them similar if the universals they instantiate are each distinct and not identical? Is this meant to say that the universals are qualitatively the same but numerically multiplied? What is it about the properties that makes them 'similar' and thus universal in the mind as the moderate realist holds if the quality instantiated by each is distinct?

  • I can not tell from the description if what you call "moderate realism" is Aristotelian realism or conceptualism, but IED surveys both and more, along with objections to them iep.utm.edu/universa It could also be a Wittgensteinian theory where similarity is taken as a primitive relation rather than expression of a universal, in which case the question is moot. isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic1392890.files/Bambrough.pdf – Conifold Mar 12 '16 at 23:10
  • Yeah, I agree with Conifold -- "moderate realism" is a descriptor used to categorize views. It'd be clearer if you said who you mean rather using a generic descriptor. – virmaior Mar 13 '16 at 23:58

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