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What is Abstraction?

Meaning of Abstraction

Abstraction is the process of generalizing by reducing the information content of a concept or an observable phenomenon. Typically to retain only information relevant to a particular purpose.

For example, abstracting a black and white leather soccer ball to a ball retains only information about the general attributes and behavior of a ball.

Similarly, abstracting “ happiness ” to an “ emotional state ” reduces the amount of information conveyed about the emotional state.

Abstraction generally results in the reduction of a complex idea to a simpler concept or general domain. Which allows the understanding of a variety of specific scenarios in terms of certain basic ideas.

Abstract things are sometimes defined as those things that do not exist in reality or exist only as sensory experience, but there is a difficulty in deciding what things ” exist ” in reality.

It’s hard to agree on whether concepts like God, the number three, and goodness are real, abstract, or both. Abstraction in philosophy
is the process of forming a concept by identifying common features among a group of individuals, or by ignoring unique aspects of these individuals.

The notion of abstraction is important to understand some of the philosophical controversies surrounding empiricism and the problem of universals.

Metonymy, in linguistics, refers to the use of the same type of nouns that mean concrete objects to refer to abstract concepts, and is found in many languages, including English.

In Carl Jung’s psychology, abstraction refers to the processing of a particular experience exclusively by one of the following four psychological functions : sensation, intuition, feeling, and thought , which would normally function in relation to each other.

Referents of Abstraction

Abstractions sometimes have ambiguous referents; for example, “ happiness ” (when used as an abstraction) can refer to as many things as people and events or states of being that make them happy.

“ Architecture ” refers not only to the design of safe and functional buildings, but also to creative and innovative elements that point to elegant solutions to building problems. To the use of space and, in the best of cases, to the attempt to evoke an emotional response from the builders, owners.

Abstraction in Philosophy

Abstraction in philosophy is the process of forming a concept by identifying common characteristics among a group of individuals, or by ignoring the spatio-temporal aspects of these individuals.

The notion of abstraction is important to understand some of the philosophical controversies surrounding empiricism and the problem of universals.

It has also recently become popular in formal logic as a predicate abstraction.

John Locke supported the existence of abstraction in the Essay Concerning Human Understanding. He identified the capacity for abstraction as the quality that distinguished humans from animals and made spoken language possible.

In The Principles of Human Knowledge, Berkeley argued that the concept of an abstract idea is incoherent because it requires both inclusion and exclusion of the same property.

An abstract idea would have to be general and precise at the same time, general enough to include all instances of the concept.

Accurate enough to exclude all non-instances. He used the example of the abstract idea of ​​a triangle, which ” is neither oblique nor rectangular, equilateral nor scalene, but all and none of these at the same time “.

Abstraction in Ontology

In ontology, the word “ abstract ” is applied to properties and relations that, by themselves, may not exist in space or time, but do exist as individual instances in many different places and times.

Abstraction in Linguistics

Reification, (also called hypostatization), refers to the treatment of an abstract concept , such as “ society ” or “ technology ”.

It could be considered a logical fallacy . In linguistics, this is called metonymy , in which abstract concepts are referred to using the same types of nouns that signify concrete objects.

Metonymy is found in many languages, and it can blur the distinction between abstract and concrete things . An example is this quote, given in 1805 by Horace Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar: ” England expects every man to do his duty .”

Words that denote abstract concepts are very important for the writing of literature, philosophy, and poetry. The old Japanese language contained very few abstract words; Japanese scholars adapted Chinese words for these concepts and proceeded to create a rich and varied body of literature.

Neurology of Abstraction

Some research on the human brain suggests that the left and right hemispheres differ in their handling of abstraction . For example, a meta-analysis reviewing human brain injuries has shown a bias in the left hemisphere during the use of tools to perform specific tasks.

Abstraction in Art

Abstraction is used in the arts as a synonym for the phrase ” abstract art .” However, it can refer to any object or image that has been distilled from the real world or, indeed, to another work of art. In the truest sense, abstract art is not really abstract.

Abstraction in Psychology

Jung’s definition of abstraction broadened its scope beyond the thought process to include four mutually exclusive psychological functions: sensing, intuition, feeling, and thinking that, together, would normally form a structural totality of experience.

According to Jung, abstraction operates on one of these opposing functions when the simultaneous influence of the other three functions, along with other irrelevances such as emotion, is excluded.

Abstraction requires the selective use of one of these abilities on the psyche ; The opposite of abstraction is called ” concretism “. Abstraction is one of Jung’s 57 definitions in Chapter XI of Psychological Types.

There is abstract thought , just as there is abstract feeling, sensation, and intuition. Abstract thinking emphasizes rational and logical qualities. The abstract sentiment does the same with… its sentiment values. … I put abstract feelings on the same level as abstract thoughts . … The abstract sensation would be aesthetic against the sensual sensation and the abstract intuition would be symbolic against the fantastic intuition.

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