the meaning of abstract
Use the adjective abstract for something that is not a material object or is general and not based on specific examples.
Abstract is from a Latin word meaning “pulled away, detached,” and the basic idea is of something detached from physical, or concrete, reality. It is frequently used of ideas, meaning that they don’t have a clear applicability to real life, and of art, meaning that it doesn’t pictorially represent reality. It is also used as a noun, especially in the phrase “in the abstract” (a joke has a person laying down a new sidewalk saying “I like little boys in the abstract, but not in the concrete”), and as a verb (accented on the second syllable), meaning “to remove.”
Or it can be said as a compliment; it just depends on how you take it.
Jeff: (extreme smile) DUDE CHECK THIS OUT
Sarah: (nods) Nice Jeff, that’s very..um..abstract.
source: The enigma of human consciousness.New York Academy of Sciences.
So, in principle, with a brain connectivity map we would have a vast trove of objective data about the brain, and with our own introspection, we have a vast trove of subjective data about consciousness. One might think it would then be possible to abstract out the relevant kinds of principles that connect the objective to the subjective. I don’t think this would mean that we would bridge the mind/brain gap, but we would have boiled down this conundrum to the simplest possible principles.
An abstraction is a general concept or idea, rather than something concrete or tangible. In computer science, abstraction has a similar definition. It is a simplified version of something technical, such as a function or an object in a program. The goal of “abstracting” data is to reduce complexity by removing unnecessary information.
At some level, we all think of computers in abstract terms. When we type a document in a word processor, we don’t think of the CPU processing each letter we type and the data being saved to memory. When we view a webpage, we don’t think of the binary data being transferred over the Internet and being processed and rendered by the web browser. We simply type our documents and browse the web. This is how we naturally abstract computing concepts.