# Ramsey's Universals: Why is "Neither Socrates nor Plato is wise" not a proposition of the form "x is wise"?

I am studying Ramsey's 1925 paper Universals, and he states that "Socrates is wise", "Plato is wise", etc. are propositions of the form "x is wise", yet "Neither Socrates nor Plato is wise" is not. It is instead of the form "$\phi$ wise" where $\phi$ is a variable.

Why is this? I don't really understand it. Is it because "Neither Socrates nor Plato" is not of level 0 (like a single proper name) but level 1 (like the proposition "x is wise" itself) so cannot be "substituted into" a level 1 expression?

Thanks

• He does not state that it is of the form "ϕ is wise". It is of the form aRb, with Socrates for a and Plato for b, and the ϕ discussed in the text replaces a or b with a variable. He spends a page explaining how it is nonsensical to treat even that ϕ as anything more than a device of abbreviation. Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 0:39
• Ramsey is simply objecting that "complex" propositional functions like "x is wise or Plato is foolish" identify genuine universals. Conclusion: not every propositional function (formula with one free variable) corresponds to an universal. Commented Jan 28, 2022 at 9:28