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Three ways to manipulate ideas

The acts of the mind, wherein it exerts its power over simple ideas, are chiefly three: 1. Combining several simple ideas into a compound one, and thus all complex ideas are made. 2. The second is bringing two ideas, whether simple or complex, together, and setting them by one another so as to take a view of them at once, without uniting them into one, by which it gets all its ideas of relations. 3. The third is separating them from all other ideas that accompany them in their real existence: this is called abstraction, and thus all its general ideas are made.

There are three ways to manipulate ideas and concepts1:

  1. Compounding two ideas
  2. Creating a relationship between two ideas
  3. Abstraction of an idea

  1. John Locke , An Essay Concerning Human Understanding