chapter
13 Pages

Abstraction and attention

We see from the above, and from similar expositions, how, despite great elaboration, no attempt has really been made to pin down what is descriptively given and what demands clarification, and to relate the two to one another. Let us once more run through our own undoubtedly clear, natural train of thought. What we are given are certain differences in the field of names: among others, the difference between such names as name what is individual, and such as name what is specific. If we confine ourselves, for the sake of simplicity to direct names (‘proper names’ in an extended sense of the word), names like ‘Socrates’ or ‘Athens’, on the one hand, stand opposed to names like ‘Four’ (the number-Four as a single member of the number-series), ‘C’ (the note C as one member of the musical scale), ‘Red’ (as the name of one colour), on the other. To these names certain meanings correspond, and through these we refer to objects. What these named objects are can, one would imagine, not be in doubt. In the one case it is the person Socrates, the city of Athens, or any other individual object, in the other case the Number Four, the note C, the colour Red, or any other ideal object. What we mean by the significant use of words, what objects we name by them, and what these objects count as when we name them, this no one can dispute with us. It is accordingly evident that when I say ‘Four’ in the generic sense, as, e.g., in the statement ‘Four is a prime number relatively to seven’, I am meaning the Species Four, I have it as object before my logical regard, and am passing judgement on it, and not on anything individual. I am not judging about any individual group of four things, nor about any constitutive moment, piece or side of such a group, for each part, qua part of what is individual, is itself likewise individual. But to make an object of something, to make it a subject of predications or attributions, merely differs in name from having a presentation of it, and having a presentation in a sense which, while not the only one, is none the less the standard one for logic. We therefore assert with self-evidence: There are ‘universal presenta-

tions’, i.e. presentations of what is specific, just as there are presentations of what is individual.