The Conception of What Is Abstract: Pythagoras vs Ionians

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The Conception of What Is Abstract: Pythagoras vs Ionians

Postby Mossling on January 28th, 2020, 12:50 am 

It seems that what is considered abstract or not depends on our foundational beliefs underlying the positivistic truths that promote scientific progress.

For example, in standard western philosophy, it appears that numbers are considered a highly abstract phenomenon, because they are not empirically witnessed to exist in nature.

But isn't this perception assuming that the truth of nature is what we receive directly; empirically, through our senses? - Something that Descartes challenged.

Alternatively, if I deem certain mathematically profound 'truths' - such as that pertaining to E = mc2, to highlight some underlying pythagorean style numerically-driven substrate to the universe, would I then say that the perceived absence of numbers in the 'real world' is an abstraction?

What is more, if, in light of the above, we then decide to increase our skepticism, and take our positivistic substrate as completely empty of fundamental numerical or qualitative truth, then what unit of measurement or experience do we begin our positivistic journey forwards from? It seems that there is nothing left and our efforts are futile.

Is science, and the progress it positively seeks, thus based on a blind choice of sorts regarding what is conceived as abstract? - Like an old battle between Pythagoras' rationalism and Ionian empiricism that has never ended?

And if so, does this mean that science is not always an empirical endeavor - that many scientists are more rationalist in their positivistic beliefs in the potency of mathematical truths? - something which in fact undermines empiricism....?
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