The Magic Of Words
The philosopher George Berkeley famously argued (contra John Locke) that we can never have truly abstract ideas — ideas stripped of all particulars and details. When I think of a triangle, I imagine a particular triangle, not some abstract idea of “triangle.” When I think of a dog, I imagine a golden retriever or a Yorkie or a mutt — not a “general” dog that embodies only the essence of “dogness,” devoid of all nonessential features.
Yet, somehow or other, we manage to communicate about triangles (and not just about particular triangles) when we say that “triangles have three sides,” and I can tell you something meaningful about the type of animal I just heard outside (“a dog!”) even though you know nothing of its particulars.
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