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  1. The essence of the dispute about universals is a discussion about the ontological status of general concepts (beauty, truth, stool, etc.), i.e. whether such concepts are objective or invented by people. The question of the nature of general concepts has been a concern of philosophers since Antiquity, where this discussion, for example, was presented in the classical philosophical dispute sophists vs. Socrates and Plato, where the former defended the idea that “man is the measure of all things”, and their opponents insisted that concepts exist objectively.

    At first glance, the question may arise as to why this argument started at all, because the formulation of the question seems a bit strange. But it is worth a little thought, and it will quickly become clear that the dispute is not idle at all, because a lot depends on the answer to it. For example, if you believe that there are objective criteria that distinguish ” beautiful “objects from” ugly ” ones (for example, completely objective criteria for a “beautiful picture”), then you are willy-nilly approaching realism, because you recognize the objective existence of universals. Let's say they don't argue about tastes. But after all, in addition to beauty, we still have such things as truth (and science tied to it), justice (and jurisprudence tied to it), and so on. It turns out that the answers to the question about universals lead to a lot of interesting consequences in the sphere of our ideas about the correct structure of society, the status of laws, morals, the functions and boundaries of scientific knowledge, the methodology of scientific work, etc., etc.

    In the Middle Ages, this discussion was made even more acute by its interrelation with theological issues. Since Augustine's time, Christian philosophical and theological thought in Europe has been influenced by the Christian interpretation of Plato's philosophy, which offered a very concrete answer to the question of the status of universals: general concepts exist in reality, in the form of “ideas” (and Augustine would add that these are ideas in the mind of God), and only they have a true existence, while material things are temporary and�

    It cannot, of course, be said that their nominalist opponents were completely outright rebels, but at that time their ideas, which rejected the teachings of Plato (and therefore Augustine, one of the “fathers of the church”), looked radical. It is no coincidence that at the end of the XI century some aspects of nominalism were even subjected to official ecclesiastical condemnation. In fact, nominalists argued that there are only individual things, and therefore they should be the object of our study. It is noteworthy that, although the medieval nominalists themselves were by no means opponents of the Catholic Church, nevertheless, it was their ideas, in particular, the famous “Occam's Razor”, that would later be used by critics of religion (a separate question is how adevat, but this is a completely different story), so the opponents of nominalism were not worried in vain. I think it should now be clear why in the Middle Ages such free-thinking was perceived acutely.�

    As a result, Thomas Aquinas tried to reconcile everyone by creating a scholastic synthesis of nominalism and realism, in which it was argued that universals exist before things (in the mind of God as the plan of creation, eternal ideas), in things (as Aristotelian forms that disappear after the destruction of things) and after things (in our mind as the result of the process of knowledge as subjective concepts).

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