Single Idea 8905

[catalogued under 18. Thought / E. Abstraction / 6. Abstracta by Conflation]

Full Idea

A theory of non-spatiotemporal parts of things, whether recurring universals or non-recurring tropes, makes good sense of some abstractions. Unit negative charge is a universal common to particles, and an abstraction by being part of them.

Gist of Idea

If universals or tropes are parts of things, then abstraction picks out those parts


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

Book Reference

Lewis,David: 'On the Plurality of Worlds' [Blackwell 2001], p.85

A Reaction

He cautiously refers to 'some' abstractions. It is one of Donald Williams's proud boasts concerning his trope theory that it will handle this problem well. I'm not sure that we should be saying that abstractions are actually concrete bits of things.

Related Idea

Idea 8906 If we can abstract the extrinsic relations and features of objects, abstraction isn't universals or tropes [Lewis]