Publication: Book review, MacBride’s “Genealogy of Universals”

Good news, everyone: a publication came out today in the excellent open-access (!) journal, Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy. This is a book review of Fraser MacBride‘s On the Genealogy of Universals: the Metaphysical Origins of Analytical Philosophy (Oxford University Press: 2018). Here is a teaser for the review:

Russell has a pessimistic take on the notion of a metaphysical
category: “What, exactly, is meant by the word “category”, whether in Aristotle or in Kant and Hegel, I must confess that I have never been able to understand. I do not myself believe that the term “category” is in any way useful in philosophy, as representing any clear idea.” (Russell, 1945/1967, 222)

In this book, MacBride has shown that Russell had plenty of company. It might even have been universal—and still may be today. Accordingly, and fittingly for a genealogy, in this book MacBride does not explain what a category is. It seems at least this much is true: there are different notions of category—linguistic, logical, and ontological at least—to be distinguished and interrelated according to the philosophical methodology of a past (or present) philosopher. In developing these distinctions and applying them to past figures like the ones MacBride considers, or to ourselves, one should reckon with this particular book.

Happy reading! And thanks to Fraser MacBride for writing an interesting, review-worthy book.

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