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[kuh n-sep-choo-uh-liz-uh m] /kənˈsɛp tʃu əˌlɪz əm/
noun, Philosophy.
any of several doctrines existing as a compromise between realism and nominalism and regarding universals as concepts.
Compare nominalism, realism (def 5).
Origin of conceptualism
First recorded in 1830-40; conceptual + -ism
Related forms
conceptualist, noun
conceptualistic, adjective
conceptualistically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for conceptualism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • conceptualism, then, investigates the conditions of consistent judgment.

    Logic Carveth Read
  • To distinguish Logic from Psychology is most important in connection with conceptualism.

    Logic Carveth Read
  • Nominalism is covered by empirical tendencies, and conceptualism by modern idealism.

    The Approach to Philosophy Ralph Barton Perry
  • So far nominalism and conceptualism—the theory that kinds exist only in words or in ideas—was on the right track.

  • The view of Socrates is the meeting-point of the other two, just as conceptualism is the meeting-point of nominalism and realism.

    Cratylus Plato
  • The names by which the three doctrines are respectively designated are, Realism, Nominalism, and conceptualism.

  • The introduction, with its attack on conceptualism, prepares the way for a more sweeping assault on abstractions.

British Dictionary definitions for conceptualism


the philosophical theory that the application of general words to a variety of objects reflects the existence of some mental entity through which the application is mediated and which constitutes the meaning of the term Compare nominalism, realism, Platonism
the philosophical view that there is no reality independent of our conception of it, or (as in the philosophy of Kant) that the intellect is not a merely passive recipient of experience but rather imposes a structure on it
Derived Forms
conceptualist, noun
conceptualistic, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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