Concept, types and examples of abstraction. Abstract thinking

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Concept, types and examples of abstraction. Abstract thinking
Concept, types and examples of abstraction. Abstract thinking

Philosophy in the view of many people is a science that is characterized by transfusion from empty to empty, as the saying goes. That is, in the eyes of the inhabitants, philosophers only do what they reason, without bringing any benefit. This idea of science has developed largely due to its incomprehensibility, due to the use of complex specific terms and long, monotonous descriptions of their meanings.

Meanwhile, many philosophical concepts are quite relevant in everyday life. For example, abstraction. This word can be heard very often. Moreover, in conversations, people use it to denote the abstraction or “nebulousness” of what is being discussed. But what is abstraction scientifically?

What is this? Definition

The name of this term comes from the Latin word abstractio, which is translated into Russian as "distraction". This is precisely the essence of this philosophical concept.

Abstraction is nothing more than a distraction, a mental retreat away from the subject being considered, studied or discussed, carried out in order to determine and highlight the most important, essential points, features, elements by generalization.

In simple terms, this is a way of mentally eliminating the unnecessary, helping to focus on the main thing. At the same time, both generalized and detailed can be important.

Also defined as a generalization achieved by abstraction.

What can be an abstraction? Real Life Examples

As a rule, a category is perceived only as a part of any lengthy dialogues. In fact, every person resorts to it daily and more than once.

The simplest example is the train of thought that occurs when looking at the sky. Every modern person knows that there is an atmosphere above his head, which consists of several alternating layers. Everyone knows that it consists of carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen.

But what comes to mind when you look up? Just the word "heaven". This is an example of a natural abstraction that does not require special efforts. At the same time, there is a distraction in the brain from the details and details that are known to the person looking at the sky, but at a given moment in time. That is, the desired element is determined and isolated by generalization.

Strings of abstract thoughts
Strings of abstract thoughts

If, when looking up, the word “clouds” appears in your thoughts, then this is a more complex abstraction. It involvesnot only a generalization, but also the selection of a specific, important element. However, it is also natural, requiring no special effort.

Examples of abstraction conscious people in everyday life also see quite often. In any conversation in which the narrator resorts to abstract analogies to explain something, this category is involved. That is, if a person cites a case from life as an example, explaining to them what he wants to say, he resorts to abstraction and does it consciously.

What is abstraction? Definition

Examples of abstraction demonstrate the presence of certain techniques in communication and, of course, the way of thinking. The totality of this is called abstraction in philosophy. This concept has two main meanings, which are related in meaning, have something in common with each other. The first defines this concept as the process of distraction itself or a method, and the second as a method.

That is, abstraction is the use of a method of distraction in the process of cognition or explanation, reasoning.

abstract representation
abstract representation

Distraction comes from everything insignificant, not important in a specific period of time, from the superfluous that prevents you from correctly understanding the essence. The result of this process is the formation of an abstract concept.

Abstract and concrete

Examples of abstraction, both meaningful and natural, demonstrate the achievement of a certain result. It is he who is called in philosophy an abstract concept.

It could be almost anythingdevoid of clear detail, such as color, light, curvature, ugliness, or beauty. That is, if you voice only the result of abstraction, out of context, for example, the word "heaven", then each person will have his own understanding of it.

abstract concepts
abstract concepts

In other words, this concept carries meaning, has meaning, but does not convey any precise characterizing details that concretize and narrow it. It is the presence of precise characteristics that distinguishes abstract and concrete concepts. That is, if, when receiving information, it can be perceived in completely different ways, then it is abstract. A specific concept does not allow for various interpretations, it is extremely accurate.

Types of abstraction

It may seem paradoxical, but this category is characterized by both a clear classification by purpose and a very extensive and vague list of conditional types.

According to the purpose, abstraction can be:

  • meaningful;
  • formal.

Meaningful form means highlighting the particular through the general. That is, recalling the example mentioned above, if the word “cloud” comes to mind when looking at the sky, then this is a meaningful abstraction.

Abstract psychedelic images
Abstract psychedelic images

Formal, on the other hand, highlights those elements that do not exist by themselves, such as color. Formal abstraction is the basis in the assimilation and transmission of descriptions of external properties, and also serves as the basis for theoretical reflections.

The main types or types of this category include:

  • sensual primitive;
  • generalizing;
  • idealizing;
  • insulating;
  • constructivizing.

Separately, scientists single out the so-called abstraction of actual infinity. It stands out because examples of abstraction of the main types can be found in everyday life, but it is impossible to observe this kind. That is, this philosophical category is a completely theoretical concept. What is its essence? In order to mentally abstract from the axiom that it is impossible to fix each of the components of an infinite set. And then this set will become finite. This philosophical theory, although reminiscent of a utopia, is taken very seriously by mathematicians. It is quite possible that in the future it will still be in demand in practice, for example, in the process of space exploration.

What is meant by abstract thinking?

It's not uncommon to hear people say that they think in abstract terms. At the same time, it is clear that we are talking about a person who is not distinguished by earthiness and ordinaryness, about someone who is inclined to think and reason without any clarity and specificity. But what is meant by this in philosophy?

Abstract thinking is, in simple terms, nothing more than a kind of cognitive activity. That is, this is a type of human brain activity, which is characterized by the formation of specific abstract concepts and their further operation.

Abstract thinking
Abstract thinking

That is, an individual with this type of thinking is characterized by abstractionpictures of perception of the surrounding world, any phenomenon or concept. In reasoning and dialogues, he departs from the usual system of rules and axioms. This allows you to convey or receive information, ideas or thoughts without undue load, use symbols and images. However, accuracy is lost in this case, and, of course, a context or a well-known symbol is needed for a correct understanding of thought.

What is the use of abstract concepts and thinking?

The general concept of abstraction, accepted in science, does not at all reveal the practical benefits of this phenomenon. Meanwhile, it is necessary for the development of human mental capabilities. For example, it is with the help of abstractions and their comparisons that children begin to learn about the world.

Abstract concepts are an integral part of people's mental activity. They contribute to the disclosure of connections and relationships between phenomena, objects, elements, concepts. With the help of abstract thinking, people synthesize existing ideas and form new types of relationships and relationships between the objects under consideration, thereby developing their own consciousness.

The appearance of thought in the mind
The appearance of thought in the mind

That is, with the help of distraction, the progress of the cognitive, mental activity of a person occurs.

Beyond this, abstractions are inextricably linked to language skills. Toddlers learn to speak through this type of thinking.

In art

Not only philosophy, but also art is characterized by such a concept as "abstraction". The paintings of many famous artists are written in this genre.

Abstractionism is a direction in art that characterizes the refusal to convey something in the form of a realistic display. This primarily concerns the forms of images in painting and sculpture. However, any work can be abstract, such as a story, a poem, theatrical scenery, costumes, and more.

Kandinsky, the first abstract painting
Kandinsky, the first abstract painting

The founder of this genre is considered to be the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, and the first abstract work is his watercolor work Un titled, written in 1910.