Single Idea 8904

[catalogued under 18. Thought / E. Abstraction / 3. Abstracta by Ignoring]

Full Idea

The Way of Abstraction says abstract entities are abstractions from concrete entities; they result from somehow subtracting specificity, so that an incomplete description of the original concrete entity is a complete description of the abstraction.

Gist of Idea

The Way of Abstraction says an incomplete description of a concrete entity is the complete abstraction


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

Book Reference

Lewis,David: 'On the Plurality of Worlds' [Blackwell 2001], p.84

A Reaction

Defined like this, it rather looks as if abstractions would be entirely verbal - which may well be the correct situation, except that higher animals seem capable of minimal levels of abstraction. This Way is denigrated by Frege and Geach.