Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Live Blogging: A Modern Manual of Scholastic Philosophy (chapter 1, part deux)

  I back again, on the same chapter from yesterday, so to immediately move forward, the thing which distinguishes thought from anything else is the simplicity and universality of its ideas. That is, the abstractness, and extension of ideas are necessary conditions of thought and probably are sufficient conditions too. All men have this ability, to consider a thing in separate notions and this ability distinguishes men from animals. Further, this ability is wholly wanting to animals, all intellectual acts are accompanied with it, and it is THE distinctive feature of intelligence. From the fact that all men can abstract, and from the fact that this ability is wholly wanting to animals, I dare say that we have a biconditional statement here implying that man and only man has the ability to abstract. And continuing, since all intellectual acts are apparently abstract acts, and all abstract acts are human, then all intellectual acts are human (but how then are we to explain the intellectual acts of angels? -this we shall endeavor to uncover later). Presently our interests lay elsewhere. To treat further of the idea, the abstract idea is the simple idea and vice versa, and all extended ideas are comprehended if and only if, comprehended ideas are extended ones (that is, comprehension=extension in meaning). There is an inverse proportion between the comprehension of an idea and the simplicity of an idea. For instance, an idea about red tomatoes is applicable to any red tomato, whether it be bruised, soft or hard, etc. But the less simple idea about red small tomatoes is much more specific -hence the more ideas make up a concept (the greater the comprehension) the less the extension (or application/universality). From this I will tentatively state that if an idea is of high extension, then it is of low comprehension, and that if an idea is of low extension, then it is of high comprehension. But is this not contradictory: (-e-->c), & (c-->-e)? How do we resolve this problem if it is a problem? Finally, it is obvious how we must abstract/analyze things into simple ideas before comprehending them into complex ideas in order to understand anyone thing.

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