Abstract objects: two ways of introducing them, in the core and the periphery of language

One of the most striking features of natural language is that it comes with a wealth of terms for abstract objects, or so it seems, and to a great extent they can be formed quite systematically and
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One of the most striking features of natural language is that it comes with a wealth of terms for abstract objects, or so it seems, and to a great extent they can be formed quite systematically and productively. First, we can form nominalizations from expressions that normally serve as predicates, for example adjectives, and the nominalizations can be used, it seems to refer to abstract objects. Thus, from the adjective wise, we get wisdom or Socrates’ wisdom, and from the adjective patient, we get the noun patience. Wisdom and patience seem to be used as abstract terms below: (1) a. Wisdom is admirable. b. Patience is better than impatience. Even nouns for concrete objects (diamond, ant) can be used without a determiner as abstract terms, referring to the kind whose instances are things described by the noun: (2) a. Pink diamonds are rare. b. Ants are widespread. There are also complex construction that seem to stand for abstract objects, for example the number of planets or the. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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