Abstraction and the Origin of General Ideas

Philosophers' Imprint 12:1-22 (2012)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Philosophers have often claimed that general ideas or representations have their origin in abstraction, but it remains unclear exactly what abstraction as a psychological process consists in. We argue that the Lockean aspiration of using abstraction to explain the origins of all general representations cannot work and that at least some general representations have to be innate. We then offer an explicit framework for understanding abstraction, one that treats abstraction as a computational process that operates over an innate quality space of fine-grained general representations. We argue that this framework has important philosophical implications for the nativism-empiricism dispute, for questions about the acquisition of unstructured representations, and for questions about the relation between human and animal minds.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
LAUAAT-2
Upload history
Archival date: 2014-10-06
View other versions
Added to PP index
2012-05-13

Total views
536 ( #8,520 of 54,410 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
82 ( #7,078 of 54,410 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.