The UVic Writer's Guide
An abstraction is a word which stands for a quality found in a number of different
contexts from which it has been taken away or abstracted. In conversations
on "ethics" or "morality," the process of abstraction is often
carried so far that we make the fundamental error of assuming
these abstractions are tangible, definable objects.
Such concepts as "nature," "beauty," or "truth" are not so much
indefinable as receptive to an infinite number of definitions.
Never assume that the reader's notions are the same as yours.
A discussion of abstract ideals must maintain its connection to
the topic at hand, and you must be especially careful to define
the abstract terms you use.
Topics About Logic and Argument
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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria,
This page updated September 24, 1995