In his paper “On What There Is” W.V.O. Quine mounted a unique argument against realism of universals:
One may admit that there are red houses, roses, and sunsets, but deny, except as a popular and misleading manner of speaking, that they have anything in common. The words ‘houses’, ‘roses’, and ‘sunsets’ are true of sundry individual entities which are houses and roses and sunsets, and the word ‘red’ or ‘red object’ is true of each of sundry individual entities which are red houses, red roses, red sunsets; but there is not, in addition, any entity whatever, individual or otherwise, which is named by the word ‘redness’, nor, for that matter, by the word ‘househood’, ‘rosehood’, ‘sunsethood’. That the houses and roses and sunsets are all of them red may be taken as ultimate and irreducible, and it may be held that McX is no better off, in point of real explanatory power, for all the occult entities which he posits under such names as ‘redness’.’
David Armstrong coined the pejorative term “Ostrich Nominalism” for Quine's variant of nominalism.
Now, the problem of universals was already formulated at the dawn of philosophy. But Quine was a 20th century philosopher!
Quine's argument is not at all complex, it's as simple as it can be: He just points out that in the “one over many” argument, realists assume they can talk of one entity shared between many numerically different particulars without giving any justification why we should assume such a shared entity in the first place.
Did Quine have any “predecessors” regarding “Ostrich Nominalism”? And if he didn't, can we give any sociocultural explanation why in the whole history of philosophy nobody before found it worthwhile to argue along this line?