Single Idea 8901

[catalogued under 18. Thought / E. Abstraction / 1. Abstract Thought]

Full Idea

Abstraction is usually explained in one of four ways: the Way of Example (cf. donkeys and numbers), the Way of Conflation (same as sets), the Negative Way (non-spatial and non-causal) or the Way of Abstraction (incomplete descriptions).

Gist of Idea

Abstraction is usually explained either by example, or conflation, or abstraction, or negatively


David Lewis (On the Plurality of Worlds [1986], 1.7)

Book Reference

Lewis,David: 'On the Plurality of Worlds' [Blackwell 2001], p.82

A Reaction

[Compressed; a footnote dismisses Dummett's fifth way] Example has blurred boundaries, and explains nothing. Gerrymandered sets don't produce concepts. Negative accounts explain nothing. So it's the Way of Abstraction!