Prescisive abstraction

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Prescisive abstraction or prescision, variously spelled as precisive abstraction or prescission, is a formal operation that marks, selects, or singles out one feature of a concrete experience to the disregard of others.

The above definition is adapted from the one given by Charles Sanders Peirce (CP 4.235, “The Simplest Mathematics” (1902), in Collected Papers, CP 4.227–393).


  • Peirce, C.S., Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, vols. 1–6, Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss (eds.), vols. 7–8, Arthur W. Burks (ed.), Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1931–1935, 1958.

See also