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When I think of a table, for example, I think of something that I intend to use in a certain way (a place to put my coffee cup or dinner plate...). This could include anything from a box to a flat boulder I use for lunch while hiking. In the same way, the concept "key" includes anything that is used to open something else (car key, house key, key card...). I can think of many examples: hammer, house, shoe, and so on. This seems to only apply to objects designed by man or used by man in a chosen way.

Where does the issue of intended or designed use fit into concept-formation? Are these just definitions?

asked Mar 15 '11 at 19:20

Donovan's gravatar image


Harry Binswanger in Abstraction from Abstractions provided an analogy to a file-folder or 3-ring binder. The concept is represented by the binder. Everything you learn about 'tables' goes into that binder. The definition, the essential characteristic(s), serves as the label on the binder.

As to applying the concept to a box or a flat boulder, it is an application of what is already known from the "pages within" to the new concrete instance which you envision using as a table.

The concept 'world' has a mixture of natural and man-made in it - does the expression "it's like entering a whole new world" expand that beyond objects designed by man or used by man in a particular way? Or perhpas: "there is a world of difference between . . ."

answered Mar 15 '11 at 19:51

dream_weaver's gravatar image

dream_weaver ♦

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Asked: Mar 15 '11 at 19:20

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Last updated: Mar 15 '11 at 19:51