more from Zoltn Gendler Szab

Single Idea 8955

[catalogued under 18. Thought / E. Abstraction / 5. Abstracta by Negation]

Full Idea

In current discussions, abstract entities are usually distinguished as 1) in principle imperceptible, 2) incapable of causal interaction, 3) not located in space-time. The first is often explained by the second, which is in turn explained by the third.

Gist of Idea

Abstractions are imperceptible, non-causal, and non-spatiotemporal (the third explaining the others)


Zoltn Gendler Szab (Nominalism [2003], 2.2)

Book Reference

'The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics', ed/tr. Loux,M /Zimmerman,D [OUP 2005], p.18

A Reaction

Szab concludes by offering 3 as the sole criterion of abstraction. As Lewis points out, the Way of Negation for defining abstracta doesn't tell us very much. Courage may be non-spatiotemporal, but what about Alexander the Great's courage?