Abstractions such as 'authority,' 'equality,' 'utility,' 'liberty,' 'pleasure,' 'experience,' 'consciousness,' 'chance,' 'substance,' 'matter,' 'atom,' and a heap of other metaphysical and theological terms, are the source of quite as much error and illusion and have as little relation to actual facts as the ideas of Plato.
The common logic says 'the greater the extension, the less the comprehension,' and we may put the same thought in another way and say of abstract or general ideas, that the greater the abstraction of them, the less are they capable of being applied to particular and concrete natures.
The simplest abstraction
was practically beyond our thinking; and when one did happen to think one, he was hard put to communicate it to his fellows.
"I proceed to examine what can be alleged in defence of the doctrine of abstraction, and try if I can discover what it is that inclines the men of speculation to embrace an opinion so remote from common sense as that seems to be.
And here it is to be noted that I do not deny absolutely there are general ideas, but only that there are any ABSTRACT general ideas; for, in the passages we have quoted wherein there is mention of general ideas, it is always supposed that they are formed by abstraction, after the manner set forth in sections 8 and 9.
Other witnesses, who had been acquainted with the deceased, were asked if they could explain the mystery of his presumed abstraction of the keys, and his presence in the burning room.
I will state briefly, before my pen occupies itself with other events, how my own convictions lead me to account for the abstraction of the keys, for the outbreak of the fire, and for the death of the man.
It is astonishing that so simple a truth should ever have had an adversary; and it is one, among a multitude of proofs, how apt a spirit of ill-informed jealousy, or of too great abstraction
and refinement, is to lead men astray from the plainest truths of reason and conviction.
His literary criticisms seemed to me not only exquisitely humorous, but perfectly sane and just; and it delighted me to have him personally present, with the warmth of his own temperament in regions of cold abstraction
; I am not sure that I should like that so much now.
I walked along with Miss Murray, turning aside my face, and neglecting to notice several successive remarks, till she bawled out that I was either deaf or stupid; and then (having recovered my self-possession), as one awakened from a fit of abstraction
, I suddenly looked up and asked what she had been saying.
Every man has to learn the points of compass again as often as be awakes, whether from sleep or any abstraction
. Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.
Did he see them, in the era of its being quite settled that the national dustmen have only to do with one another, and owe no duty to an abstraction
called a People,
It is very possible that he fancied himself there, indeed; for it was plain, from his abstraction
, that he saw not the book-stall, nor the street, nor the boys, nor, in short, anything but the book itself: which he was reading straight through: turning over the leaf when he got to the bottom of a page, beginning at the top line of the next one, and going regularly on, with the greatest interest and eagerness.
"Certainly--of course I did," he returned, with the sudden testiness of disturbed abstraction. "What are you thinking of?
There was a certain cynical ring in her father's voice that was unlike his usual hesitating abstraction. It both puzzled and pained her.