RB 65

Does the theory of universals present in “Botanisten och filosofen” contain realistic elements or not? Since, on the one hand, concepts are held to actually help in the determination of the subject’s perceptions as well as determining objects themselves, the theory undeniably gives concepts epistemological priority over objects, and on the other, the concepts are said to “exist” in the objects, which makes the answer affirmative. However, the concepts themselves are considered to be real in Hägerström’s logical meaning of the word - that is, real in their capacity of being non-contradictory, which counters the realistic interpretation. Because Hägerström’s demand for reality entails that a real concept is non-contradictory.This, however, does not mean that the concept per se exists autonomously of the objects, but exists as a function of the objects. Ergo: No object, no concept. The problem is that the distinction that Hägerström draws between “reality” and “existence” in “Botanisten och filosofen” is ambiguous and vague, which causes problems when analyzing the ontological status of concepts.Are concepts merely constructs that have subjective reality gathered from our collected perceptions, or do concepts have existence - an objective reality independent of our minds? However, an analysis of Hägerström’s conceptual theory shows that it endows the concepts with an intermediate ontological status. Real concepts are not merely thought, but they are also determinations of real objects, since the real concepts correspond to the objects.90 Illustrative examples regarding the nature of concepts are the characteristics of geometrical concepts, such as circles and other figures. Geometrical concepts are definitely logically determip a r t i i i , c h a p t e r 2 196 90 Ibid., p. 82. Cf. Marc-Wogau, Studier till Axel Hägerströms filosofi, pp. 113-120. Konrad Marc-Wogau’s commentary is perhaps the best there is when it comes to Hägerström studies. Marc-Wogau’s analysis points to the fact that Hägerström’s conceptual ontology allows one to trace a concept via its positive world determinations.This is a fact that Marc-Wogau interprets as conceptual realism on Hägerström’s behalf. 2 . 8 real i st ic e lements in “botani sten och f i losofen”?