The term abstract comes from the Latin verb abstrahere, which means to separate something or extract. Generally speaking, it is opposed to concrete.
One of the meanings of the word abstract refers to human thought , because from everything you observe you can extract general traces and from there get ideas. Ideas (of beauty , kindness, love, desire, among others) are concepts that cannot be observed from anywhere, but are able to deduce through a process of abstraction.
The abstract dimension of reason is a theme assimilated by Western philosophical thought since its origins
Philosophers express the idea of what is abstract. It should be noted that philosophy emerged as the overcoming of mythical thinking, based on the simple observation of natural phenomena, which were attributed to spiritual forces or the will of the gods.
For Plato, abstraction is what creates our ideas, concepts that refer to reality in a generic and formal way. Other thinkers expressed the universal concept. This type of conceptual version was applied to scientific thought, which also presents abstract concepts: velocity, energy , force, acceleration, among others. Mathematics is a purely abstract knowledge, since its principles or axioms are the product of human reason.
Philosophy and science are not the only disciplines dealing with the abstract
In art, there is a creative current: abstract art, which emerged at the beginning of the 20th century as an opposition to figurative art, which intended to imitate and reproduce nature. Abstract art reproduces in a work (for example, in painting) the essential forms of reality. Other artistic manifestations also express abstract forms. They are characterized by being detached from observations in general, as it seeks to create a world of concepts independent of experience.
Although the abstract is a genuine feature of the human mind, children do not have this kind of thinking.
They observe, touch and their ideas refer to the concrete elements that are found around them. The psychology evolutionary has studied the differences between the concrete thought of a child and abstract thinking of an adult. It is estimated that 12-year-olds can already develop with ideas independent of concrete experience and begin to develop an abstract understanding of the world.
In everyday language, the abstract concept is very present. In fact, we say that we are abstracted, that is, that we are mentally distant from the concrete situation in which we live.