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BOOK REVIEWS 173 (or Plato) to Wittgenstein and Austin. In doing so, he has neglected (pace a few random references) the most fertile field for the analysis of universals, the medieval writers. To some extent, Professor Zabeeh does make up for this omission insofar as he appeals to the writings of William of Ockham in order to undermine Aristotle's conception of universals. In a brief discussion of Plato's theory of ideas (or forms), it is argued that Plato understood 'universals' in terms of two questionable assumptions: (1) that whenever a relation, common name, or general term is "applied univocally to a set of objects, this term denotes a common property possessed by these objects" (this is described as the 'proper-name theory of words'); (2) that we cannot be said to have defined a term until we can provide a definiens which is logically equivalent with the defmiendum (pp. 4-5). Having uncovered these 'assumptions '---which one may or may not want to assume to be present in Plato's writings-Professor Zabeeh makes some rather startling remarks which are, at the very least, questionable . He claims that Plato's metaphysics was constructed out of "semantic blocks"I This claim neither is supported by what he has previously said nor is it justified by an appeal to Plato's philosophical works. If one must seek the basis of Plato's metaphysics, it is more plausible to seek it in his commitment to the view that mathematical entities and geometrical forms are the paradigms of metempirical, real, immutable objects of knowledge. And when Professor Zabeeh avers that (for Plato) universals, ab initio, owed their existence to the particulars insofar as they were abstracted from them, one wonders how Plato can be so completely misunderstood. If the section of this book dealing with Plato will hardly appeal to those who are serious students of Plato, the author's treatment of Aristotle's conception of universals will hardly please Aristotelian scholars. Ockham's view that Aristotle conceived of universals as entities neither in the world nor in the mind, but as 'terms of second intention' (terms signifying terms), is embraced by the author even though he feels that Aristotle is basically in error insofar as he clings to the proper-name model of words. Since Aristotle assumed that there is no perfect correspondence between the "constituents of language and constituents of the world" (p. 10), and since he believed that knowledge of things is impossible without an understanding of the meaning of concepts, Professor Zabeeh believes that Aristotle's approach to the problem of universals is closely allied with some contemporary theories. In chapters on the empiricist attack on general terms or universals and the interpretation of the meaning of universals in Wittgenstein, Austin, Hampshire, and Goodman, Professor Zabeeh is on firmer ground. There is a very good discussion of the problem of the concept of resemblance (as the fundamental 'relation' which is assumed to be indispensable for knowledge ), which to my mind is the most interesting part of the book. It is argued that the concept of resemblance is one which is used for classifying and sorting, characterizing, distinguishing, and referring to entities. In this regard, it is not useless or vacuous since it is a 'linguistic activity' which has a fundamental logical priority. This is an informative but uneven book, a work which touches upon so many complex issues that it cannot possibly do justice to any specific question. Professor Zabeeh tries to defend what he describes as an instrumentalist conception of universals and concedes to Socrates that universals are, indeed, 'real' and are indispensable for description or evaluation (p. 59). Considering the numerous typographical errors (including an incredible jumbling of footnotes beginning on p. 32) and the physical structure of the book, the price is unfortunate. GEORGEJ. STACK New York State University College at Broekport Ou-yang Hsiu: An Eleventh-Century Neo-Confuclanist. By James T. C. Liu. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1967. Pp. viii + 227. $6.50.) Professor Liu's Ou-yang Hsiu: An Eleventh-Century Neo-Confuclanist is a scholarly and thorough study of a well-known historical figure of the Sung dynasty. The Sung dynasty...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 173-174
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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