And accordingly it gave rise to the three great doctrines which divided the medieval schools: Realism of the Platonic type, embodied in the formula universalia ante rein; Realism of the Aristotelian type, universalia in re; and Nominalism, including Conceptualism, expressed by the phrase universalia post rem, and also claiming to be based upon the Peripatetic doctrine.
His position is ordinarily designated by the name Conceptualism (q.v.), though there is very little talk of concepts in Abelard's own writings.
By these distinctions Abelard hoped to escape the consequences of extreme Nominalism, from which, as a matter of history, his doctrine has been distinguished under the name of Conceptualism, seeing that it lays stress not on the word as such but on the thought which the word is intended to convey.
While it asserted a realism of individuals, it admitted a conceptualism of universals.
As regards his so-called Conceptualism and his attitude to the question of Universals, see Scholasticism.
It may be held that they exist merely as conceptions in our minds; this is Nominalism or Conceptualism.
The nature of the resultant concepts belongs to the great controversy between Nominalism, Realism and Conceptualism.