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Unformatted text preview: Particulars are real The received view on abstraction 1.In forming general ideas, we abstract from every particular degree of quantity and quality 2. An object ceases not to be of any particular species on account of every alteration in its extension, duration, and other properties. Dilemma caused by this view 1. Either the idea of man represents all men of all possible sizes and all possible quantities 2. Or represents no one particular at all. According to Hume 2 is wrong. Hume’s arguments I. It is impossible to conceive any quantity or quality without forming a precise notion of its degree. II. Even though capacity of the mind is not infinite, yet we can at once form a notion of all possible degrees of quantity and quality in such a manner at least as, however imperfect, may serve all the purposes of reflection and conversation. Arguments for I A. 1.
5. Observe that whatever objects are different are distinguishable Whatever objects are distinguishable are separable. The inverse of 1 an 2 is true as well. For we cannot separate what is not distinguishable, or distinguish what is not different. Considered in this view it becomes clear that the precise length of a line is not different or distinguishable from the line, nor the precise degree of any quality from the quantity. 6. Therefore, theses ideas admit more separation than they do of distinction and difference. 7. Therefore they are conjoined together with each other in the conception : and the general idea of a line. 8. However, it may be made to represent others which have different degrees of both. Page 2 of 3 B. 1. No object can appear to the senses, or no impression can become present to the mind without being determined in its degrees both of quantity and quality. 2. The confusion, in which impressions are sometimes involved, proceeds only from their faintness and unsteadiness, not from any capacity in the mind to receive any impression, which in it real existence has no particular degree nor propotiton. 3. To think this is a contradiction in terms and a violation of the Law of Identity. 4. Since all ideas are derived from impressions, and are nothing but representations of them 5. Whatever is true of the one must be acknowledge concerning concerning the other. 6. Impressions and ideas differ only in their strength and vivacity. 7. An idea is a weaker impression; and strong impression must necessarily have a determinate quantity and quality 8. The case must be the same with its copy. III. 1. It is a principle generally received in philosophy that everything in nature is individual, and that 2. It is absurd to suppose a triangle really existent which has no precise proportion of sides and angles. 3. If this is absurd in fact and reality, it must be in idea. 4. Since nothing of which we can form a clear and distinct idea is absurd and impossible. 5. To form the idea of an object and to form an idea are simply is the same thing 6. It is impossible to form the idea of an object that is possessed of quantity and quality, and yet is possessed of no precise degree of either 7. Therefore, Abstract ideas are in themselves individual, however they may become general in their representation. Page 3 of 3 Argument for II 1. The application of ideas beyond their nature proceeds from our collecting all their possible degrees of quantity and quality in such an imperfect manner as may serve the purposes of life. 2. When we have found a resemblance among several objects that often occur to us, we apply the same name to all of them, whatever other differences we may observe in the degrees of quantity and quality. 3. After we have acquired a custom of this kind, the hearing of the name revives the idea of one of these objects and makes the imagination conceive it with all its particular circumstances and proportions. 4. The ideas are not really and in fact present to the mind, but only in power. ...
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This note was uploaded on 09/02/2011 for the course PHI 2010 taught by Professor Miller during the Spring '11 term at Santa Fe College.
- Spring '11