in philosophical tradition the expression for general terms (also generic terms) (antonym: INDIVIDUAL TERM). Philosophy poses the question of Universals' existence, i.e. the question if next to the singular concrete entities of the real world there are also ideal, abstract objects (specifically the Universals), or respectively if these ideal, abstract objects exist on their own and independently from the concrete objects.
Plato calls the ideal objects that are set apart from the singular concrete objects "ideas"; they form an empire, a world of ideas. The ideas are on a higher ontological level, i.e. they exist more than the concrete singular entities and are closer to the truth. Plato characterizes the relation between ideas and concrete entities using the term
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