Photo by Biel Morro on Unsplash

The Decoupling from Reality…

The Nominalist Error

Richard Schutte
6 min readMay 21, 2024


“European civilisation rose on the principle of a world of universal and eternal truths, in which all men participate — on the principle of the Logos, in other words”…

- Augusto del Noce

“Truth is exact correspondence with reality”…

- Paramahansa Yogananda

“If particulars are to have meaning, there must be universals” …

- Plato

“The decay of Logic results from an untroubled assumption that the particular is real and the universal is not” …

- C.S. Lewis


the conscious self

self as it appears to self (Phenomenal)


the unconscious self

ego as it is in itself (Noumenal)

Primacy of Human Consciousness

the axiom of the centrality of human consciousness in understanding and shaping reality

Primacy of Existence

the axiom that existence exists — the universe exists independent of consciousness — that things are what they are — that they possess a specific nature, an identity

As outlined in Adrift The Crisis of a Post- Nietzschean Modernity and Post-Modernity, the Modern and Post-Modern Mind was now in a complete state of disarray — adrift — as the individual conscious mind of Modernism had collided with the individual conscious experience (umwelt) of Phenomenology and Post-Modernism.

At its very essence, this ever-growing cognitive dissonance was a result of Man’s attempt to decouple from Reality and increasingly ignore the notions of eternal objective Truth and Realism.

Increasingly, drifting towards a Primacy of Human Consciousness without a Primacy of Being and Existence.

A Reality without properties independent of the Observer ( Conscious SelfEgo).

“ “Real” is a word invented in the thirteenth century to signify having Properties, i.e. characters sufficing to identify their subject, and possessing these whether they be anywise attributed to it by any single man or group of men, or not”…

– Charles Sanders Peirce

“For what is it for a thing to be Real? [ – ] To say that a thing is Real is merely to say that such predicates as are true of it, or some of them, are true of it regardless of whatever any actual person or persons might think concerning that truth. Unconditionality in that single respect constitutes what we call Reality”…

– Charles Sanders Peirce

Modernity and Post-Modernity had almost ubiquitously embraced Nominalism whether via Cartesianism (“I think, therefore I am”… — Descartes — Proof of Reality of one’s Mind) and its attempts at pursuing the individual conscious mind of Modernism or the individual conscious experience ( umwelt) of Phenomenology and Post-Modernism.

Western Civilisation was increasingly trapped in a Metaphysical cul-de-sac as Modernity was ultimately deconstructed by Post-Modernism and metaphysics was increasingly dismissed.

A critique of rationality and objectivity associated with Logos.

“Postmodernity is said to be a culture of fragmentary sensations, eclectic nostalgia, disposable simulacra, and promiscuous superficiality, in which the traditionally valued qualities of depth, coherence, meaning, originality, and authenticity are evacuated or dissolved amid the random swirl of empty signals” …

– Jean Baudrillard

God was Dead and Man was “apparently” now free to shape and mould reality (Hegel’s Second Nature) into whatever form he believed and desired at the time.

“Marx’s idea is that materialism, in order to be consistent, must forgo presenting itself as a philosophy of comprehension and must interpret thought not as revelation but as activity that transforms reality”…

— Augusto del Noce

Literally, Man imposing his own beliefs on the World (i.e. sensemaking) and then discovering ( i.e. interpretation ) his own inventions.

“To talk about sensemaking is to talk about reality as an ongoing accomplishment that takes form when people make retrospective sense of the situations in which they find themselves and their creations. There is a strong reflexive quality to this process. People make sense of things by seeing a world on which they already imposed what they believe. In other words, people discover their own inventions. This is why sensemaking can be understood as invention and interpretations understood as discovery. These are complementary ideas. If sensemaking is viewed as an act of invention, then it is also possible to argue that the artifacts it produces include language games and texts”…

– Karl Weick

The Theology of Marxism Man as God — was now the orthodoxy of the ruling elite and bourgeoisie.

A Modern Sophism — a Post-Truth Society and Educationwhere the only thing that now mattered was a Nietzchean Will to Power and the ideas of Marx.

“American universities were once the envy of the world, as lively academies of intellectual debate and devoted to the pursuit of knowledge are now factories of indoctrination. Their law, medical, engineering, and business schools have also been transformed into political instruments that advance the “Party Line””…

— James E Fanell and Bradley A Thayer

[ LINK ]

“Totalitarianism does not just show up one day, springing forth fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus. But it does come quickly, more so than most Americans realise, as the ideology, laws, norms, and culture are eroded by the new Revolutionary regime. When they seized power in 1917, the Bolsheviks did not know how far they could push the Russian people, but that was not for lack of intent or trying. Their ambition was to remake everything — culture, politics, economics the arts, science, diplomacy, education, values, and thought”…

— James E Fanell and Bradley A Thayer

[ LINK ]

But was this shift equivalent to an Ouroboros and the Snake eating its own tail?

An Ego or Conscious-Self reflecting back on its own Ego — Conscious-Self.

A man looking at his subjective self in the mirror.

“Now subjectivism reduces all science to the knowledge of one individual, the Ego — which, as just shown, is no science at all. If its fundamental definition of knowledge means anything, or is faithfully adhered to, subjectivism teaches that the intelligent subject has no intelligence save for itself — has no warrant for believing in the existence of anything save itself — knows nothing but the inexplicable order of its own sensations and thoughts. It reduces all existence to an unrelated One, while of an unrelated One no science is possible. In a word, subjectivism if logical, annihilates science at a blow”…

— Francis Ellingwood Abbot

An Observer without the Observed.

“We live in the complete eclipse of traditional ideals, an eclipse that can make one think it is a “sunset”. Since 1945, a new historical period has begun: that of homo progressivus. But is it a question of “rising ideals”, or “the obscuration of intelligence”?”…

— Augusto del Noce

The Nominalist error is that the material and individual (conscious self — ego) is all that exists.

“In short, there was a tidal wave of nominalism. Descartes was a nominalist. Locke and all his following, Berkley, Hartley, Hume, and even Reid, were nominalists. Leibniz was an extreme nominalist, and Remusat who has lately made an attempt to repair the edifice of Liebnizian monadology, does so by cutting away every part which leans at all towards realism. Kant was a nominalist; although his philosophy would have rendered compacter, more consistent, and stronger if its author had taken up realism, as he certainly would have done if he read Scotus. Hegel was a nominalist of realistic yearnings; I might continue the list much further, Thus, in one word, all modern philosophy of every sect has been nominalistic”…

— Charles Sanders Peirce




Richard Schutte

Innovation, Intrapreneurship, Entrepreneurship, Complexity, Leadership & Community Twitter: @complexityvoid