Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Speussipus, Noam Chomsky and George Berkeley

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2 ideas

15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 3. Abstraction by mind
The mind creates abstract ideas by considering qualities separated from their objects [Berkeley]
     Full Idea: We are told that the mind being able to consider each quality of things singly, or abstracted from those other qualities with which it is united, does by that means frame to itself abstract ideas.
     From: George Berkeley (The Principles of Human Knowledge [1710], Intro 7)
     A reaction: A helpful explanation of 'abstract' ideas. Berkeley gives colour and movement as examples. Fodor suggests that abstraction is the key strategy in empiricist epistemology. The difficulty is to decide whether the qualities are natural or conventional.
I can only combine particulars in imagination; I can't create 'abstract' ideas [Berkeley]
     Full Idea: Whether others can abstract their ideas, they best can tell. For myself, I find I have a faculty of imagining, or representing to myself, only the idea of those particular things I have perceived, and of compounding and dividing them.
     From: George Berkeley (The Principles of Human Knowledge [1710], 10)
     A reaction: He is admitting mixing experiences, but always particulars, never abstract. His examples are 'man' and 'motion'. Compare Aristotle Idea 9067. Berkeley is, I think, trapped in a false imagistic view of thought. My image of Plato blurs young and old.