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Single Idea 19760

[catalogued under 15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 5. Generalisation by mind]

Full Idea

Every general idea is purely intellectual. The least involvement of the imagination thereupon makes the idea particular.

Gist of Idea

General ideas are purely intellectual; imagining them is immediately particular


Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Discourse on the Origin of Inequality [1754], Part I)

A Reaction

This thought is in Berkeley, who seemed to think that general ideas were impossible, because imagination was always required. Rousseau is certainly an improvement on that.

Book Reference

Rousseau,Jean-Jacques: 'The Basic Political Writings', ed/tr. Cress,Donald A. [Hackett 1987], p.50

Related Ideas

Idea 6714 Universals do not have any intrinsic properties, but only relations to particulars [Berkeley]

Idea 6719 No one will think of abstractions if they only have particular ideas [Berkeley]