philosophy of mathematics

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Io Aurelia, Mar 10, 2002.

  1. Lately I've been thinking about the philosophical side of mathematics, and I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on a few things I've been pondering.

    Do you consider mathematics to be the universal language of nature? Hypothetically, if intelligent life evolved elsewhere do you think that they too would use mathematics to describe the universe?

    Do you see mathematics as transcending the material universe (like the platonist realm of ideas), or do you think it only makes sense to talk about mathematical ideas in relation to something?

    Do you think mathematical ideas exist "out there" in their own right, or do you see them as being abstracts which only exist if there's someone there to think about them?

    I look forward to hearing what you guys think.

    Io
     
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  3. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    I have heard it said that mathematics can be used to explain anything.

    I saw a quote about 20 years ago that said that anyone who doesn't understand mathematics is just an animal that has learn't to wipe its ass.

    Mathematics offers a degree of precision that most find unnecessary, but then human nature is very imprecise. To be precise all the time is difficult and most people fear mathematics because of that. It mostly seems to be too much effort.

    But I do think that mathematics could be a universal language that could be used to communicate with other advanced life.

    Cris
     
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Hi Io,

    <i>Do you consider mathematics to be the universal language of nature?</i>

    That's a difficult question. Mathematics lets us <i>describe</i> nature very well in many cases, but I don't know if nature really "knows" about mathematics. To use mathematics to describe nature we need a kind of two-way mapping from the mathematical world of ideas to the physical world. Since humans are part of the physical world, and we invented mathematics, perhaps it is not so surprising that it works so well in describing the physical world. On the other hand, perhaps the mathematical beauty of the physical world was just waiting for us, and we didn't so much invent mathematics as discover it.

    <i>Hypothetically, if intelligent life evolved elsewhere do you think that they too would use mathematics to describe the universe?</i>

    Undoubtedly. I read recently somewhere that mathematics is the study of <i>patterns</i>, in the abstract. Physics is the study of patterns in nature. Both fields interact for obvious reasons. Intelligent aliens will surely notice patterns in a similar way to us.

    <i>Do you see mathematics as transcending the material universe (like the platonist realm of ideas), or do you think it only makes sense to talk about mathematical ideas in relation to something?</i>

    Mathematical ideas can stand on their own, though at its base mathematics is rooted in certain physical ideas. For example, I would argue that the idea of discrete objects gives us the concept of number. We can certainly conceive of mathematical entities which have no direct analogues in the real world.

    <i>Do you think mathematical ideas exist "out there" in their own right, or do you see them as being abstracts which only exist if there's someone there to think about them?</i>

    Tricky. I lean towards their being "out there".
     
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  7. Rick Valued Senior Member

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    Re: Re: philosophy of mathematics

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!


    AS WE HAVE BEEN ARGUING EARLIER,PHYSICAL IDEAS ARE BASED ON MATHS.,NOT vice versa.


    BYE!
     
  8. Rick Valued Senior Member

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    3,336
    Re: Re: philosophy of mathematics

    Which analog is non existant?0? imaginary number?(Remenber phasors?)
    are we talking about them?



    bye!
     
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    zion,

    For example, I can use mathematics to describe the properties of a (hyper-)sphere in 7 dimensions, but our physical universe almost certainly does not have seven dimensions (it <i>might</i> have more than that).
     
  10. imimim Registered Member

    Messages:
    14
    philosphy of mathematics

    lets forgets all the digits , numbers and mathematical formulas and start behaving see what will happen, a fuss,a jaam of thoughts,this baby mathematics a step ahead for correction of natural mystries,a tool to make next big bang very much corrected.
     

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