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What is Real. A Reply to Ockham's Ontological Program

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When Ockham's logic arrives in Italy, some Dominican philosophers bring into question Ockham's ontological reductionist program. Among them, Franciscus de Prato and Stephanus de Reate pay a great attention to refute Ockham's claim that no universal exists in the extra-mental world. In order to reject Ockham's program, they start by reconsidering the notion of 'real', then the range of application of the rational and the real distinction. Generally, their strategy consists in re-addressing against Ockham some arguments extracted from Hervaeus Natalis's works. Franciscus's and Stephanus's basic idea is that some universals are not acts of cognition, but extra-mental, predicable things. Such things are not separable from singulars, nonetheless they are not the same as those singulars. Consequently, it is not necessary to allow, as Ockham does, that if two things are not really identical, they are really different and hence really separable. According to them, it is possible to hold that two things are not really identical without holding that they are also really non-identical and hence really different. Basically, their reply relies on a different notion of the relation of identity. Identity is regarded as an intersection of classes of things, so that it is possible to say that two things are really identical without saying that they also are the same thing. Franciscus and Stephanus, however, do not seem to achieve completely their aim.


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