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A Metaphysics of Psychopathology$
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Peter Zachar

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027045

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027045.001.0001

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Instrumental Nominalism

Instrumental Nominalism

Chapter:
3 (p.40) (p.41) Instrumental Nominalism
Source:
A Metaphysics of Psychopathology
Author(s):

Peter Zachar

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027045.003.0003

Instrumental nominalism is the view that it is important to conceptualize what collections of particulars have in common, but as the collections grow larger and the concepts more abstract (e.g., Truth), they become increasingly obscure and applied to a contradictory list of instances. There are three ways of making sense of such abstractions. They can be compared with contrast concepts, decomposed into component concepts, and stratified into more homogeneous sets of cases. Instrumental nominalism is inspired by Charles Peirce's pragmatist view that we are never at the beginning or end of inquiry, but always in the middle. We cannot divest ourselves of all assumptions, including abstract metaphysical assumptions, but we can temporarily isolate and critically analyze any assumption in order to make conceptual progress. The chapter closes by articulating a pragmatist perspective on the coherence and correspondence theories of truth.

Keywords:   Nominalism, Pragmatism, Instrumentalism, Decomposition, Charles Peirce, correspondence theory of truth, coherence theory of truth

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