more from Jonathan Barnes

Single Idea 9073

[catalogued under 18. Thought / E. Abstraction / 8. Abstractionism Critique]

Full Idea

The procedure of abstraction will not allow us to distinguish the ambiguity between 'mole' as an animal and as an artefact. The stages of abstraction will only end up with 'physical object', and this will then count as the definition.


A mole is a stone sea-wall

Gist of Idea

Abstraction from an ambiguous concept like 'mole' will define them as the same


Jonathan Barnes (Commentary on 'Posterior Analytics [1993], n to 97b7)

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'Posterior Analytics (2nd ed)', ed/tr. Barnes,Jonathan [OUP 1993], p.249

A Reaction

This is a problem if you adhere to a rather precise account of the steps of abstraction, with every stage explicit (and probably expressed in terms of sets), but I suspect that the real tangle of semi-conscious abstraction avoids this problem.