The doctrine holding that abstract concepts, general terms, or universals have no independent existence but exist only as names.
A doctrine of the late Middle Ages that all universal or abstract terms are mere necessities of thought or conveniences of language and therefore exist as names only, with no ideal realities corresponding to them.
(philosophy) A doctrine that universals do not have an existence except as names for classes of concrete objects.
Nominalism was a doctrine of sceptics and suspected heretics, such as Berengar of Tours and Roscellinus.
It was the rith century which gave Nominalism to the world."
This cautious compromise sanctioned by the Church does not represent the extremest reaction against nominalism.
On the question of universals he endeavoured to steer a middle course between the pantheistically inclined realism of Duns Scotus and the extreme nominalism of William of Occam.
Under an appearance of much vain subtlety the controversy about universals involved issues of the greatest speculative and practical importance: realism represented a spiritual, nominalism an anti-spiritual, view of the world; while realism was evidently favourable, and nominalism unfavourable, to the teaching of the Church on the dogmas of the Trinity and the Eucharist.