Building the semantic web

Russell Turpin
Fri, 18 Jan 2002 19:44:53 +0000

Dave Long:
>Okay, I'll bite.  Shouldn't that be:
>"Philosophically, someone who calls themselves a realist would say that I 
>(Russell) am a nominalist"

No. I really am a nominalist. And there is no contradiction
in my saying so, performative or otherwise. Being a nominalist,
I believe the concept of "nominalism" is entirely man-made. It
is neither writ in the heavens, nor received from the gods.
But now that we have created the concept of nominalism, and I
understand what it means, I can use it to create statements
that are objectively true or false.

In other words, don't confuse different varieties of "realism."
In philosophy, there are any number of different notions
labeled "realism." Depending on the domain, the opposite of
realism may be nominalism, subjectivism, idealism, or any
number of other notions. Many people are "realist" for some
senses of the word, but not "realist" for other senses.

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