more from John Stuart Mill

Single Idea 9797

[catalogued under 6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 4. Mathematical Empiricism / a. Mathematical empiricism]

Full Idea

The expressions '2 pebbles and 1 pebble' and '3 pebbles' stand for the same aggregation of objects, but do not stand for the same physical fact. They name the same objects in different states, 'denoting' the same things, with different 'connotations'.

Gist of Idea

'2 pebbles and 1 pebble' and '3 pebbles' name the same aggregation, but different facts


John Stuart Mill (System of Logic [1843], 2.6.2)

Book Reference

Mill,John Stuart: 'System of Logic (9th ed, 2 vols)' [Longmans, Green etc 1875], p.295

A Reaction

Nothing in this would convert me from the analytic view to the empirical view of simple arithmetic, if I were that way inclined. Personally I think of three pebbles as 4 minus 1, because I am haunted by the thought of a missing stone.