Draft. Berkeley denied the existence of abstractideas and any faculty of abstraction. At the same time, however, he embraced innate ideas and a faculty of pure intellect. This paper attempts to reconcile the tension between these commitments by offering an interpretation of Berkeley's Platonism.
In Book I, Part I, Section VII of the Treatise, Hume sets out to settle, once and for all, the early modern controversy over abstractideas. In order to do so, he tries to accomplish two tasks: (1) he attempts to defend an exemplar-based theory of general language and thought, and (2) he sets out to refute the rival abstraction-based account. This paper examines the successes and failures of these two projects. I argue that Hume manages to articulate (...) a plausible theory of general ideas; indeed, a version of his account has defenders in contemporary cognitive science. But Hume fails to refute the abstraction-based account, and as a result, the early modern controversy ends in a stalemate, with both sides able to explain how we manage to speak and think in general terms. Although Hume fails to settle the controversy, he nevertheless advances it to a point from which we have yet to progress: the contemporary debate over abstractideas in cognitive science has stalled on precisely this point. (shrink)
Berkeley confidently asserts the connection between his attack on abstractideas and immaterialism, But how the connection works has puzzled modern commentators. I construct an argument resting on the imagist theory of thought which connects anti-ionism and immaterialism and try to show that it is berkeleian. I then suggest that, Without the mistaken imagist theory, A similar and still interesting argument can be constructed to the weaker conclusion that matter is essentially unknowable.
I argue that peter wenz's claim, That berkeley's view is that abstractideas are impossible for us but not for god, Is untenable. But the impossibility of God having abstractideas does not, Contrary to wenz, Entail that there is no room for the divine archetypes in berkeley's system.
There are three propositions that this author demonstrates in his argument: (1) the contention that berkeley's attack on abstractideas is not made wholly compatible with his atomic sensationalism, (2) that berkeley does not provide or employ a single definition or criterion for determining the limit of abstraction and (3) that the doctrine of abstractideas furnishes no real support to berkeley's argument against the existence of material substance independent of perception. (staff).
While claiming to refute locke's theory of abstractideas, Berkeley himself accepts a form of abstractionism. Locke's account of abstraction is indeterminate between two doctrines: 1) abstractideas are representations of paradigm instances of kinds, 2) abstractideas are schematic representations of the defining features of kinds. Berkeley's arguments are directed exclusively against 2, And refute only a specific version of it, Which there is no reason to ascribe to locke; berkeley himself accepts (...) class='Hi'>abstractideas of the former type. Locke's theory suffers from circularity and redundancy, Berkeley's from conflation of thought with imagination. (shrink)
In the _New Theory of Vision, Berkeley defends the heterogeneity thesis, i.e., the view that the ideas of sight and touch are numerically and specifically distinct. In sections 121-122 of that work, he suggests that the thesis of abstractideas is somehow closely connected to the heterogeneity thesis, though he does not there fully explain just what the connection is supposed to be. In this paper an interpretation of this connection is proposed and defended. Berkeley needs to (...) reject abstractideas because, if there were such ideas then the heterogeneity thesis would be false and, in turn, this would lead directly to the falsity of Berkeley's theory of vision. (shrink)
The doctrine of abstractideas contains Locke’s views on the nature of generality and how we think in general terms-the nature of universals, of general concepts, and how we classify. While Reid rejects abstractideas, he accepts Locke’s insight that we have an ability to abstract. In this paper, I show how Reid preserves Locke’s insight, while providing a more versatile and forward-looking account of universals and concepts than Locke was able to give.Reid replaces (...) class='Hi'>abstractideas with what he calls “general conceptions.” But general conceptions are really three different things. First, they are universals---non-mental intrinsically general objects of acts of abstraction and conception. I show how Reid is able to make the claim that there are universals without being committed to holding that universals really exist. This claim, together with his type/token distinction, enables Reid to better explain how we have knowledge of attributes and use general terms meaningfully. The general features of our experience are not ideas and are not produced by the faculty of abstraction---but that faculty enables us to distinguish them.In the second sense, a general conception is an act of mind which takes universals as objects. Thinking in general tenns is not the manipulation of abstractideas---it is engaging in acts of conceiving. Such acts are made possible by general conceptions in the third sense, namely, general concepts. While Reid does not distinguish this sense explicitly, I argue that he takes general concepts to be dispositions or abilities to distinguish general features of objects and to use the general terms of language as other users do. So rather than producing mental entities---abstractideas---that act as standards to help us classify, abstraction makes possible the development of abilities to use general terms and classify objects. (shrink)
O presente texto tem por objetivo examinar as relações existentes entre a crítica às idéias abstratas, apresentada por Berkeley na Introdução ao Tratado sobre os princípios do entendimento humano, e a argumentação desenvolvida nos primeiros parágrafos da Parte I do mesmo texto, em que o autor propõe seu imaterialismo. A hipótese levantada a partir de tal exame defende uma relação direta entre o nominalismo de Berkeley e o caráter inaceitável, para o autor, da distinção entre o ser e o aparecer (...) da matéria postulada pelas teorias da representação. Critique of abstration and representation in Berkeleys immaterialismThe objective of this essay is to examine the relations that exist between the critique of abstractideas, presented by Berkeley in the Introduction to the A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge and the arguments developed in the first paragraphs of its Part I, in which Berkeley proposes his immaterialism. The hypothesis advanced, based on our analysis, is that there is a direct relation between Berkeleys nominalism and the unacceptable character, according to Berkeley, of the distinction between the appearance and the matter postulated by the theories of representation. (shrink)
O artigo compara alguns aspectos da refutação do ceticismo nos Princípios e nos Três diálogos. Embora normalmente não se veja nenhuma diferença importante entre essas obras, duas hipóteses são defendidas aqui: de um lado, Berkeley desloca o foco de sua crítica das idéias abstratas para a noção de matéria e, de outro, muda sua estratégia de combate, da enunciação imediata da verdade para a lenta elaboração das consequências céticas da noção de matéria. Berkeleys answers to skepticismThe topic of this paper (...) is a comparison between Berkeley´s refutation of skepticism in the Principles and in the Three Dialogues. It is usually held that there is no philosophical difference between these two works. However, I suggest that not only Berkeley´s diagnosis of the causes of skepticism changes from his criticism of abstractideas to the notion of matter, but also that he changes his strategy of refutation: from a direct statement of the truth of immaterialism to an examination of the consequences of the notion of matter. (shrink)
Abstract This essay takes up the fundamental question of the proper place of history in the study of political thought through critical engagement with Mark Bevir's seminal work, The Logic of the History of Ideas . While I accept the claim of Bevir, as well as of other exponents of the so-called “Cambridge School,“ that there is a conceptual difference between historical and non-historical modes of reading past works of political philosophy, I resist the suggestion that this conceptual (...) differentiation itself justifies the specialization, among practicing intellectuals, between historians of ideas and others who read political-philosophical texts non-historically. Over and against the figure of the historian of ideas, who interprets political thought only in the manner of a historian, I defend the ideal of the pupil, who in studying past traditions of political thought also seeks to extend and modify them in light of contemporary problems and concerns. Against Bevir, I argue that the mixture of historical and non-historical modes of learning, in the manner of the pupil, need not do damage to the historian of ideas' commitment to scholarship that is non-anachronistic, objective, and non-indeterminate. (shrink)
Philosophers have often claimed that general ideas or representations have their origin in abstraction, but it remains unclear exactly what abstraction as a psychological process consists in. We argue that the Lockean aspiration of using abstraction to explain the origins of all general representations cannot work and that at least some general representations have to be innate. We then offer an explicit framework for understanding abstraction, one that treats abstraction as a computational process that operates over an innate quality (...) space of fine-grained general representations. We argue that this framework has important philosophical implications for the nativism-empiricism dispute, for questions about the acquisition of unstructured representations, and for questions about the relation between human and animal minds. (shrink)
While Hermann Lotze's philosophy was widely received all over the world, his views on abstraction and Platonic ideas are of particular interest because they were to a large extent adopted by one of the most eminent philosophers of the twentieth century, namely Edmund Husserl. In this paper these views are examined in three distinct aspects. The first of these aspects is to be found in Lotze's thesis that there is a mental process, prior to abstraction, whereby "first universals" are (...) apprehended. The second one lies in his view that there is yet a higher level of apprehension, as found in the process of abstraction itself. According to Lotze, abstraction is not to be identified with the mere removal of particular features, but rather the replacement of these with first universals, resulting in "general images" and ultimately concepts. In addition to Lotze's analysis of the cognition of universals, there is finally a third thesis (an ontological one) which is examined in this paper, namely that the universals are Platonic Ideas in the sense that they have "validity" (Geltung) independently of their corresponding particulars and also of the mind which grasps them. The three claims in question are examined here in detail. Also, an attempt is made to point out some of the connections between Lotze and Husserl on the topic under discussion. (shrink)
São variadas as interpretações da crítica berkeleyana às idéias abstratas, mas elas costumam concordar na tese de que essa crítica gira em torno da natureza das idéias. Isto é, se idéia for o mesmo que imagem, então a abstração lockeana é impossível, caso contrário, não. Neste artigo eu procuro mostrar que essa crítica não depende de idéia ser ou não uma imagem e que Locke está parcialmente consciente do problema levantado por Berkeley. Locke's general triangle and Berkeley's partial considerationThere are (...) many different interpretations of Berkeley's attack on abstractideas, but they usually agree in sustaining that this attack depends on the nature of "ideas". That is, if "idea" is the same as "image", then lockean abstraction is impossible, but otherwise not. In this paper I show that this attack on abstractideas does not depend on the issue concerning the nature of idea as image, and that Locke is partially aware of the problem raised by Berkeley. (shrink)
A natural way to think of models is as abstract entities. If theories employ models to represent the world, theories traffic in abstract entities much more widely than is often assumed. This kind of thought seems to create a problem for a scientific realist approach to theories. Scientific realists claim theories should be understood literally. Do they then imply (and are they committed to) the reality of abstract entities? Or are theories simply—and incurably—false (if there are no (...)abstract entities)? Or has the very idea of literal understanding to be abandoned? Is then fictionalism towards scientific theories inevitable? This paper argues that scientific realism can happily co-exist with models qua abstracta. (shrink)
The ideas of fixed points (Kripke in Recent essays on truth and the liar paradox. Clarendon Press, London, pp 53–81, 1975; Martin and Woodruff in Recent essays on truth and the liar paradox. Clarendon Press, London, pp 47–51, 1984) and revision sequences (Gupta and Belnap in The revision theory of truth. MIT, London, 1993; Gupta in The Blackwell guide to philosophical logic. Blackwell, London, pp 90–114, 2001) have been exploited to provide solutions to the semantic paradox and have achieved (...) admirable success. This happy situation naturally encourages one to look for other philosophical areas of their further applications where paradoxical results seem to follow from intuitively acceptable principles. In this paper, I propose to extend the use of these ideas to give two new treatments of abstract objects. Sections 1 and 2 below check several abstractionist theories and their main defects. Section 3 shows how the two ideas can be applied to generate consistent theories of abstract objects without any ad hoc restriction on any principle. (shrink)
Locke's claims about the "inadequacy" of substance-ideas can only be understood once it is recognized that the "sort" represented by such an idea is not wholly determined by the idea's descriptive content. The key to his compromise between classificatory conventionalism and essentialism is his injunction to "perfect" the abstractideas that serve as "nominal essences." This injunction promotes the pursuit of collections of perceptible qualities that approach ever closer to singling out things that possess some shared explanatory-level (...) constitution. It is in view of this norm regulating natural-historical inquiry that a substance-idea represents a sort for which some such constitution serves as the "real essence," i.e. as that on which all the sort's characteristic "properties" depend. (shrink)
We conducted an on-line survey to investigate the professor’s idea of “morality” and then to compare their moral thinking at the abstract level with their moral thinking in the real life situations by sampling 257 professors from the University of Novi Sad. We constructed questionnaire based on related theoretical ethical concepts. Our results show (after we performed exploratory factor analysis) that the professor’s idea of “morality” consists of the three moral thinking patterns which are simultaneously activated during the process (...) of their abstract moral thinking. We have identified these patterns in the following manner: deontological, formal and subjective pattern. In addition, our results show that of the three, the subjective pattern is more activated than the other two during their process of the moral thinking at the abstract level. We also discovered that there is a statistically significant difference between professor’s moral thinking patterns activation level at the abstract level and their moral thinking patterns activation level in the real life situation. (shrink)
This paper seeks to reconstruct an important controversy between leibniz and malebranche over innate ideas. It is argued that this controversy is in some ways more illuminating than the better-Known debate between leibniz and locke, For malebranche's objections to innate ideas raise fundamental questions concerning the status of dispositions and the relationship between logic and psychology. The paper shows that in order to meet malebranche's objections, Leibniz adopts a strategy which is doubly reductionist: ideas are reduced to (...) dispositions to think in certain ways, And these dispositions are in turn reduced to unconscious perceptions. It is suggested that malebranche's platonist commitment to the existence of abstract entities forces leibniz to reveal the extent of his nominalism. (shrink)
Can children’s handedness influence how they represent abstract concepts like kindness and intelligence? Here we show that from an early age, right-handers associate rightward space more strongly with positive ideas and leftward space with negative ideas, but the opposite is true for left-handers. In one experiment, children indicated where on a diagram a preferred toy and a dispreferred toy should go. Right-handers tended to assign the preferred toy to a box on the right and the dispreferred toy (...) to a box on the left. Left-handers showed the opposite pattern. In a second experiment, children judged which of two cartoon animals looked smarter (or dumber) or nicer (or meaner). Right-handers attributed more positive qualities to animals on the right, but left-handers to animals on the left. These contrasting associations between space and valence cannot be explained by exposure to language or cultural conventions, which consistently link right with good. Rather, right- and left-handers implicitly associated positive valence more strongly with the side of space on which they can act more fluently with their dominant hands. Results support the body-specificity hypothesis (Casasanto, 2009), showing that children with different kinds of bodies think differently in corresponding ways. (shrink)
This paper argues that efforts to understand historically remote patterns of thought are driven away from their original meaning if the investigation focuses on reconstruction of concepts , instead of cognitive ‘complexes’. My paper draws on research by Jan Assmann, Jean-Jacques Glassner, Keimpe Algra, Alex Purves, Nicholas Wyatt, and others on the cultures of Ancient Greece, Israel, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Etruria through comparative analyses of the semantic fields of spatial and temporal terms, and how these terms are shaped by their (...) relation to the sphere of the sacred. It shows that there are three super-ordinate timeframes - the cyclical, the linear and the static - each of which is composed of lower-order cycles (days, lunar months, and seasons). These timeframes reflect their cultures’ ideas about the nature, scope and power of the gods, and structure the common point-of-view about the present, the past and eternity. There are also super-ordinate spatial frames which reflect their cultures’ ideas about the heavens and which structure both the sacred precinct and the profane field of action and exchange. Close analysis of texts that use words such as eternity, forever, past, present, and future, for example, do not reveal that there is anything like a general abstract concept of time in virtue of which some thing or event can be said to be in time or to have its own time. Archaic patterns of thought do not differ from our “ modern ” patterns in having different concepts, but in not having anything like concepts at all. (shrink)
Abstract Max Weber's understanding of the role of people's interests in determining their behavior has been widely misunderstood, because of a misinterpretation of a famous passage in which he analogizes interests to railway ?switchmen.? Contrary to this widespread view, Weber does not see material self?interest as the driving force behind human action. Rather, he distinguishes between material and ?ideal? interests; emphasizes the latter; and, arguably, suggests that even the former are, to a great extent, culturally constructed, not (...) least because they rely on ideas about the way the world is. It is almost fair to say, then, that the notion that Weber reduces ideas to interests has things completely backwards. (shrink)
I this paper, I draw on recent research on the radically embodied and perceptual bases of conceptualization in linguistics and cognitive science to develop a new way of reading and evaluating abstract concepts in social theory. I call this approach Sociological Idea Analysis. I argue that, in contrast to the traditional view of abstract concepts, which conceives them as amodal “presuppositions” removed from experience, abstract concepts are irreducibly grounded in experience and partake of non-negotiable perceptual-symbolic features from (...) which a non-propositional “logic” naturally follows. This implies that uncovering the imagistic bases of allegedly abstract notions should be a key part of theoretical evaluation of concepts in social theory. I provide a case study of the general category of “structure” in the social and human sciences to demonstrate the analytic utility of the approach. (shrink)
O presente texto propõe-se discutir o suposto caráter abstrato da chamada democracia deliberativa, tomando como base a ética discursiva e a teoria da ação comunicativa. Se, por um lado, a democracia deliberativa não pretende ser mais que um modelo teórico para orientar as discussões em torno da democracia, por outro, alguns de seus enunciados podem e são efetivamente incorporados à prática política das sociedades democráticas contemporâneas. A questão aqui é saber o quanto de concreto e propositivo se pode encontrar especialmente (...) nas proposições de Habermas a respeito da democracia deliberativa. This paper proposes to discuss, based on discourse ethics and communicative action theory, the supposed abstract character of deliberative democracy. If on the one hand deliberative democracy does not intend to be more than a theoretical model to guide discussions on democracy, on the other hand some of its ideas and can be, and are being, effectively incorporated into the political practice of contemporary democratic societies. The question here is one of knowing how much of the concrete and relevant can be found in Habermas' proposals regarding deliberative democracy. (shrink)
RESUMEN: Giving Reasons pretende ofrecer una aproximación no solo precisa, sino comprensiva, a una teoría sistemática de la argumentación. A la luz de una distinción de Vaz Ferreira entre «pensar por sistemas» y «pensar por ideas a tener en cuenta», me gustaría hacer unas observaciones para complementar y, digamos, “abrir” la incipiente clausura teórica del sistema lingüístico-pragmático de Giving Reasons. Voy a considerar dos casos en particular: el tratamiento del concepto mismo de argumentación y la conversión del principio de (...) cooperación y las máximas de Grice en una especie de marco sistemático donde cabe encajar y acomodar el estudio de las falacias.ABSTRACT: Giving Reasons aims to provide an approach not only accurate, but comprehensive, to a systematic theory of argumentation. In the light of a distinction made by Vaz Ferreira between «thinking through systems» and «thinking through ideas to be taken into account», I would like to make some comments in order to provide a certain balance and somehow “open” the inchoative theoretical closure of the linguistic-pragmatic system offered in Giving Reasons. I am going to consider two cases in particular: the treatment of the very concept of argumentation and the transformation of Grice’s Cooperative principle and Maxims into a sort of systematic framework to be applied to the study of fallacies. (shrink)
In this thesis, I examine the perceptibility of the Platonic Ideas in the thought of Arthur Schopenhauer. The work is divided into four chapters, each focusing and building upon a specific aspect related to this question. The first chapter ("Plato and the Primacy of Intellect") deals with Schopenhauers interpretation specific to Platonic thought. I there address the question of why it is that Schopenhauer should consider Plato to have interpreted the Ideas as 'perceptible', particularly in view of evidence (...) which seems to testify to the contrary. Does Schopenhauer misinterpret Plato, or are there sufficient grounds for considering his interpretation consistent? This is important in light of Schopenhauers reinterpretation of the Platonic Idea on the basis of the primacy of the will in contradistinction to Plato's own emphasis upon the intelligible. In effect, for Schopenhauer, Plato confuses the nature of imperceptible concepts with the more perceptually grounded Ideas. In the second chapter ("On the Direct Path to Knowledge"), I explore Schopenhauer's methodological approach on the basis of the will. I there discuss the difference between Schopenhauer and Kant with respect to Transcendental Idealism, particularly in terms of their separate analysis and derivation of the thing-in-itself. From there, I turn to a consideration of Schopenhauer's discussion of the nature of formal and empirical intuitions, of abstraction and the nature of universal concepts, and finally of the intuitively grounded nature of mathematical demonstration which serves as an analogy for the manner in which Schopenhauer deals with knowledge of the Ideas. In the third chapter ("The Perceptibility of the Ideas"), I discuss the manner in which the Ideas become accessible as the manifestation of the Will, arising through the representation of perception. There a number of distinctions are made between Ideas and concepts, as well as the nature of contemplation through Genius. The Ideas are found to be perceptible as aesthetic intuitions which relate not only to the in-itself nature inherent to phenomena, but serve also as the essential basis and foundation for all genuine forms of art. In the fourth and final chapter ("Critical Discussion of Schopenhauers Ideas"), I consider and outline a number of potential problems with respect to Schopenhauers analysis. In particular, Schopenhauer encounters difficulties on the basis of the simultaneous immanence and transcendence of the Ideas; of the knowledge of the Ideas characterized as intuitive while yet having a strangely abstract basis; of the unity of the will in face of the plurality of Ideas and phenomena; and finally of the annihilation of the will which creates essential problems in terms of the desideratum of knowledge itself. I here also attempt to offer various solutions to these problems where relevant. The conclusion which I arrive at in this work is that any radical reorientation of ontology must bear an essential effect upon the character and methodology of knowledge itself. In other words, Schopenhauers interpretation of the perceptibility of the Ideas is a direct consequence of hi s analysis of the will as the metaphysical thing-in-itself. In fact, this essential change colors his entire epistemological approach, from science and mathematics, to logic and the Ideasfrom the ground the up. (shrink)
rationality has increasingly been a target of attack in contemporary educational research and practice and in its place practical reason and situated thinking have become a focus of interest. The argument here is that something is lost in this. In illustrating how we might think about the issue, this paper makes a response to the charge that as a result of his commitment to the ‘Enlightenment project’ Vygotsky holds abstract rationality as the pinnacle of thought. Against this it is (...) argued that Vygotsky had a far more sophisticated appreciation of reason and of its remit. The paper proceeds first by examining the picture of Vygotsky that is presented in the work of James Wertsch, and especially his claim that Vygotsky was an ambivalent rationalist, goes on to provide an account of Vygotsky that corrects this picture, and develops this in the light of the work of Robert Brandom, who shares Vygotsky’s inheritance of Hegel. The conclusion towards which this piece points is that the philosophical underpinnings of Vygotsky’s work provide a radically different idea of rationality and epistemology from that characterised as abstract rationality and that this has significance for education studies. (shrink)
Abstract ?The marketplace of ideas? is a powerful legal and political metaphor?a bulwark of an open, liberal society?that suggests a positivistic debate utilizing reason and evidence. In reality, however, the marketplace of ideas often consists of illogic and bad evidence, producing clutter and confusion. The parallel with scientific research is misinformed. Evidence from collective decision?making and small group studies cast grave doubts on the ?marketplace's? ability to maximize truth.
Awareness is a two-place determinable relation some determinates of which are seeing, hearing, etc. Abstract objects are items such as universals and functions, which contrast with concrete objects such as solids and liquids. It is uncontroversial that we are sometimes aware of concrete objects. In this paper I explore the more controversial topic of awareness of abstract objects. I distinguish two questions. First, the Existence Question: are there any experiences that make their subjects aware of abstract objects? (...) Second, the Grounding Question: if an experience makes its subject aware of an abstract object, in virtue of what does it do so? I defend the view that intuitions, specifically mathematical intuitions, sometimes make their subjects aware of abstract objects. In defending this view, I develop an account of the ground of intuitive awareness. (shrink)
I argue that Berkeley's distinctive idealism/immaterialism can't support his view that objects of sense, immediately or mediately perceived, are causally inert. (The Passivity of Ideas thesis or PI) Neither appeal to ordinary perception, nor traditional arguments, for example, that causal connections are necessary, and we can't perceive such connections, are helpful. More likely it is theological concerns,e.g., how to have second causes if God upholds by continuously creating the world, that's in the background. This puts Berkeley closer to Malebranche (...) than to Hume. -/- As far the what I call the "first strategy;" defending the passivity of ideas by ordinary introspection, I refer to the work of the French psychologist Albert Michotte,(1940) and those now extending his experiments, to show that (1) there is an immediate and quite robust visual impression of causality, (admitted in fact by Berkeley, Malebranche and Hume) and (2) of more importance, the impression isn't due to projecting into nature expectations gained from experienced regularities. (shrink)
Hume introduced important innovations concerning the theory of ideas. The two most important are the distinction between impressions and ideas, and the use he made of the principles of association in explaining mental phenomena. Hume divided the perceptions of the mind into two classes. The members of one class, impressions, he held to have a greater degree of force and vivacity than the members of the other class, ideas. He also supposed that ideas are causally dependent (...) copies of impressions. And, unlike Locke and others, Hume makes positive use of the principle of association, both of the association of ideas, and, in a more limited way, of the association of impressions. Such associations are central to his explanations of causal reasoning, belief, the indirect passions (pride and humility, love and hatred), and sympathy. These views about impressions and ideas and the principles of association form the core of Hume’s science of human nature. Relying on them, he attempts a rigorously empirical investigation of human nature. The resulting system is a remarkable but complex achievement. (shrink)
Software is a ubiquitous artifact, yet not much has been done to understand its ontological nature. There are a few accounts offered so far about the nature of software. I argue that none of those accounts give a plausible picture of the nature of software. I draw attention to the striking similarities between software and musical works. These similarities motivate to look more closely on the discussions regarding the nature of the musical works. With the lessons drawn from the ontology (...) of musical works I offer a novel account of the nature of software. In this account, software is an abstract artifact. I elaborate the conditions under which software comes into existence; how it persists; how and on which entities its existence depends. (shrink)