Single Idea 8909

[catalogued under 7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 6. Fictionalism]

Full Idea

The inevitable hypothesis is that abstractions are verbal fictions. We say we are speaking about abstractions when we are speaking abstractly about the original thing. We are ignoring some features, not introducing a new thing lacking those features.

Gist of Idea

Abstractions may well be verbal fictions, in which we ignore some features of an object


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

Book Reference

Lewis,David: 'On the Plurality of Worlds' [Blackwell 2001], p.86

A Reaction

Thus Lewis ends up pretty close to Locke and the traditional view. This makes abstraction not a feat of platonic perception, in which magical non-material objects are spotted, but a feat of counterfactual imagination.