1) How large a role does personal perception play in abstraction? Culture and individual preferences/experiences influence our understanding of the abstract, but to what extent?
2) Related to the first question: Is it possible to be truly objective? On page 162 of Visual Thinking Arnheim discusses the notion that scientific papers might be a total shame because there is no way to approach a subject without having preconceived ideas about it. So the question is this: Is the process of abstracting such a fundamental part of our conscious that we are unable to shut it off?
3) Arnheim discusses the notion of abstraction in generalizations on page 157. He discusses theory that we categorizes into generals made up of particulars of a subject, but there seem to be an infinite variety of ways to categorize things. Later on page 160 he quotes a chicken and egg scenario for abstraction, quoting Henri Bergson “In order to generalize on must first abstract, but in order to abstract usefully one must know how to generalize.” So which comes first, the abstraction or the generalization, or are they one and the same?
4) In Arnheim’s discussion of what the abstract is or is not, it becomes clear that there may not be a clear line that defines the concrete from the abstract. So how is it determined, where on the gradient between concrete and abstract is the tipping point?
5) I think a great example of following the concrete to the abstract is the work of the De Stijl painter Mondrian. On this website his paintings are shown from early on as a direct representation of a tree to an abstraction of it and beyond. I didn’t really pay too much attention to the text on the page; it was just a good one that had all the images in one place. At what point in the sequence do you think the notion of a tree was lost? Do the simple line paintings at towards the end still carry any abstract meaning, or are they just lines?