What is a Concept?

For too long we believed that a concept is there where being isn’t, that, in other words, the concept is the ruthless dictator over being. But if we follow Hegel then a concept is the time of the Thing, that is, it is whats more than a point as a bit of the real which itself comes to be lacking; it is, more than that, a point in extension, that is, a line. Recall, then, Georges Canguilhem’s position that “[t]o work on a concept is to vary its extension and comprehension, to generalise it through the incorporation of exceptional traits, to export it beyond its region of origin, to take it as a model or inversely, to search for a model for it – in short, to progressively confer upon it, through regulated transformations, the function of a form.” In other words, to work a concept is to draw an image from the real. Thus, a concept, unlike a matheme, is the movement from a point of the real toward a line in the imaginary.

Finally, we can claim: concepts are man’s way of painting with the real -OR- concepts are the geometry of the real.


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