Let me guess... is it god?
That answer simpliciter would be unsatisfying. It depends on what kind of God one believes in. I believe the only God that can provide the complexity for the distinctions necessary for numbers is the Christian God of the Bible who has a mind and makes man according to that image. Thus the ultimate principle is not a monad. I think Pythagoras had no coherent explanation of how multiplicity extended from the Monad, which makes me wonder: do atheists who believe in the reality of numbers believe in a Parmenidian One?
And this, right here, shows that for you this whole exercise is just a gigantic game of special pleading. Everybody else (Pythagoreans, etc.) must "account for" and "justify" every tiny element of their world-view against an enormous tide of hyper-"skepticism" that aims to pick their words apart down to the sub-quantum scale, while you just say, "Magic Man dun it, 'cause he's got a mind
," and expect all inquiry to immediately
screech to a halt. Your own beliefs, naturally, don't have to provide any coherent explanations for anything, or "account" for how a "mind" could exist prior to anything it could experience or think about while having no brain or any equivalent to think with
, or time to think during
, and so on.
If you required "coherent explanations" from Christianity the way you do of the Pythagoreans, you would have to pitch it right out the window post haste. Christians have been providing incoherent explanations for things, and fighting tooth and nail with each other over them, since before they even called themselves "Christians." Just look at how the epistles of Paul and James go at each other, or compare the Christology of the Book of Hebrews (Jesus was a celestial High Priest who offered his blood in a Heavenly Sanctuary) vs. the Christology of the Gospels (Jesus' blood was shed on Earth), or if you want to go back to Christianity's predecessors, notice how the authors of the Books of Job and Jonah tear into the Deuteronomistic theology. Christianity's incoherence is self-evident: just look at the many and varied sects there were
before Emperor Constantine and what would become the Roman Catholic Church were able to hammer things together by force for awhile... And as soon as they couldn't anymore: thousands of Christian sects.
But oh, no, Pythagoreanism is wrong because they didn't provide you a "coherent" explanation of how the Monad became the Dyad. Oh and nevermind that the Pythagoreans deliberately sought to keep their teachings secret
, and we're lucky to know anything about them at all. Let's just assume that since no explanation that meets your incredibly exacting standards for "coherence" (never applied to your own beliefs, of course) has been passed down to our time, that they did not have one, and one could never be found. Let's just ignore that the Pythagoreans run circles
around Christianity when it comes to "coherence" and logical and empirical demonstrations of their ideas. Because, if any nit, no matter how tiny, can be found to pick, their ideas can be dismissed out of hand and your ridiculous Bible-worshiping presuppositionalism can "win" by default.
Didn't your guy Jesus say something about getting the plank out of your eye before going after the speck in someone else's? When it comes to "coherency" of one's world-view, you ought to take his advice.