G. F. Stout is famous as an early twentieth century proselyte for abstract particulars, or tropes as they are now often called. He advanced his version of trope theory to avoid the excesses of nominalism on the one hand and realism on the other. But his arguments for tropes have been widely misconceived as metaphysical, e.g. by Armstrong. In this paper, I argue that Stout?s fundamental arguments for tropes were ideological and epistemological rather than metaphysical. He moulded his scheme to fit what is actually given to us in perception, arguing that our epistemic practices would break down in an environment where only universals were given to us.