more from Thomas Aquinas

Single Idea 9093

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

Full Idea

If we think what defines a stone, man or horse, without thinking of any individual peculiarities it may have, this is precisely what we do when we abstract the general nature of what we understand from any particular way in which we imagine it.

Gist of Idea

We understand the general nature of things by ignoring individual peculiarities


Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologicae [1265], Ch.5 85.1)

Book Reference

Aquinas,Thomas: 'Summa Theologicae (Concise)', ed/tr. McDermott,Timothy [Christian Classics 1991], p.133

A Reaction

This may not be simple abstraction from sense experience, since there would obviously be a threatened circularity in the process. Do you need to know the essential definition first, in order to discard the individual peculiarities?