Dialogue

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Hume's Attack on Abstract Ideas: Real and Imagined

Gerald Visiona1

a1 Temple University

A very material question has been started concerning abstract or general ideas, whether they be general or particular in the mind's conception of them. A great philosopher [Dr. Berkeley] has disputed the receiv'd opinion in this particular, and has asserted, that all general ideas are nothing but particular ones, annexed to a certain term, which gives them a more extensive signification, and makes them recall upon occasion other individuals, which are similar to them. As I look upon this to be one of the greatest and most valuable discoveries that has been made of late years in the republic of letters, I shall here endeavour to confirm it by some arguments, which I hope will put it beyond all doubt and controversy.