Abstractions and Concretes

When approaching complex topics that are difficult to understand, I find that it is essential to include two levels of explanation. The abstract summarizes the concepts and principles at play. The concretes give the details that demonstrate how the concepts and principles present themselves in real-world examples. Arguments that go nowhere tend to get stuck in one without the other. Abstracts without concretes are hand-wavy, and no one can understand what the others are talking about, because they cannot agree on definitions. Concretes without abstracts get lost in the details, and no one can see the forest for the trees. You can often forego offering precise definitions, when you can give examples, which by themselves provide a definition by induction.

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