more from James Robert Brown

Single Idea 9609

[catalogued under 18. Thought / E. Abstraction / 1. Abstract Thought]

Full Idea

The older sense of 'abstract' applies to universals, where a universal like 'redness' is abstracted from red particulars; it is the one associated with the many. In mathematics, the notion of 'group' or 'vector space' perhaps fits this pattern.

Gist of Idea

The older sense of 'abstract' is where 'redness' or 'group' is abstracted from particulars


James Robert Brown (Philosophy of Mathematics [1999], Ch. 2)

Book Reference

Brown,James Robert: 'Philosophy of Mathematics' [Routledge 2002], p.12

A Reaction

I am currently investigating whether this 'older' concept is in fact dead. It seems to me that it is needed, as part of cognitive science, and as the crucial link between a materialist metaphysic and the world of ideas.