In section 14 of The Logic of Scientific Discovery Popper discusses the use of universal and individual names or concepts in singular and universal statements.
He starts with a pretty straightforward explanation by way of example: 'dictator', 'planet' and 'H2O' are universal names, 'Napoleon', 'Earth' and 'The Atlantic' are individuals. Individuals are defined by proper names. A temporal description can also constitute an individual concept (so, "goat" versus "the goat that was at 20 degrees longitude west and latitude north at 3:00pm on July 24th 2015"). Individual concepts may be of elements and classes (Popper's dog (individual) is a member of the sub-class Austrian dogs (individual) is a member of the class of mammals (universal)). He then offers a definition:
"An individual concept is a concept in the definition of which proper names or equivalent signs are indispensable. If any reference to proper names can be completely eliminated, then the concept is a universal concept."
He says that this distinction is indispensable if "we are not to blur the corresponding distinction between universal and singular statements."
He then says one cannot identify an individual concept by all of the universal properties it holds as this merely describes the class to which it belongs (even it is the only element in that class), and one cannot define a universal by all individuals belonging to it as this describes a class and not a universal.
Here is where I come to trouble. Popper then says that:
"It is therefore not possible to abolish the distinction between individual and universal concepts with arguments like the following of Carnap's: '...this distinction is not justified...because every concept can be regarded as an individual or universal concept according to the point of view adopted'. Carnap tries to support this by the assertion '...that all so-called individual concepts are names of classes, just like universal concepts.' This last assertion is quite correct, as I have shown, but has nothing to do with the distinction in question."
To me it seems Popper is either making a semantic ruling or making a metaphysical statement. If the only reason you cannot refer to Napoleon without his name is because Popper has defined doing as such as referring to the class to which he belongs and not to him, hasn't he presupposed metaphysically that there is a Napoleon in a deeply existential sense?
What if this metaphysics is incorrect, and there are only classes of different orders? Does that negate the possibility of validly making universal versus singular statements?
Am I misunderstanding something fundamental here?
Thanks in advance for any help.