Oleksandr

Floating Abstractions

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I have recently finished an awesome course "Understanding Objectivism" by Leonard Peikoff. Really great stuff.

One of ideas that really grabbed my attention is grounding one's ideas to reality, i.e. removing floating abstractions.

Having brought up in a modern culture with many irrationalities and floating abstractions, I'm sure that some of those ideas were able to get pass me without my notice.

I'm interested to hear from people who have gotten passed this phase.

Can you recall any specific concepts and ideas that you had hunt after?

Or some common pitfalls after the course?

Thanks.

P.S. The questions may be a bit unclear, I'll try to nail them down in more detail.

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I have recently finished an awesome course "Understanding Objectivism" by Leonard Peikoff. Really great stuff.

I wholeheartedly agree.

One of ideas that really grabbed my attention is grounding one's ideas to reality, i.e. removing floating abstractions.

Having brought up in a modern culture with many irrationalities and floating abstractions, I'm sure that some of those ideas were able to get pass me without my notice.

A floating abstraction is not merely a concept you don't understand the meaning of. It is a concept you use without understanding what it means in reality. In all fairness to yourself, don't assume that you accept any floating abstractions without evidence.

The evidence would be something like using an idea in speaking and writing and then, when someone asks you what you mean, you can't tell them. It could be trying to apply a concept you think you understand and not knowing whether something is or is not subsumed under it. People prone to rationalism find themselves in such situations quite often, but many people have never accepted a floating abstraction and, if they are like me, cannot tolerate them.

If I don't understand where a concept comes from and what it means in very grounded terms, I cannot hold onto it or use it. I've tried on a few occasions when I am making efforts to understand a difficult idea or to get a sense of what the concept might mean in context, but I am immediately struck with anxiety. I call it my "I'm about to walk off a cliff" feeling. It stops me dead in my cognitive tracks and makes it impossible for me to accept any floating abstraction.

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It is a concept you use without understanding what it means in reality.

Does that mean a concept can be a floating abraction for one person but not another? Because one person could use it and understand it, then another could use it and not understand it. Also, are their some ideas which are always floating abstractions, whether you understand it or not? For example: god.

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It is a concept you use without understanding what it means in reality.

Does that mean a concept can be a floating abraction for one person but not another? Because one person could use it and understand it, then another could use it and not understand it. Also, are their some ideas which are always floating abstractions, whether you understand it or not? For example: god.

1. Yes.

2. Those are invalid concepts.

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