Single Idea 10581

[catalogued under 15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 3. Abstraction by mind]

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.

Gist of Idea

I can only combine particulars in imagination; I can't create 'abstract' ideas


George Berkeley (The Principles of Human Knowledge [1710], 10)

Book Reference

Berkeley,George: 'The Principles of Human Knowledge etc.', ed/tr. Warnock,G.J. [Fontana 1962], p.49

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.

Related Idea

Idea 9067 Many memories of the same item form a single experience [Aristotle]