Mathematics: Invention or Natural Phenomenon?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by MaxHeadRoom, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. MaxHeadRoom

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    Just watched the Nova production The Great Math mystery.
    Worth a watch.
    Max.
     
  2. tcmtech

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    I believe it to be an invention of cognitive beings being nature in itself has no numerical system. It has patterns and processes that can be described by numbers but that in itself is not a physical manifestation of numbers.

    The concept should be fairly obvious being that we conative beings can use countless base numerical forms to describe something. In one base numerical form a natural phenomenon may have to be described using complex numbers or even imaginary ones where in another the formulas for the same natural phenomenon work out in complete numerical values.

    It's sort of like does the reality we see exist if it's not seen from our perspective? Yes it does but it wouldn't be described as we see it. Nature would still be here but it would have a different method of being described meaning the construct of the description is an invented method not a physical construct of nature that would exist without a cognitive being to create and implement it.

    If that makes any sense.
     
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  3. MaxHeadRoom

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    Did you watch the program, by the way?
    Max.
     
  4. profbuxton

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    tcmtech, no, not really!
     
  5. Hypatia's Protege

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    @MaxHeadRoom "Mathematics: Invention or Natural Phenomenon?"

    I regard mathematics as the basal language encompassing reality and all images, corollaries, analogues, parallels and 'extensions' thereof... All other modes of communication, observation, appreciation and experience are but a single 'platform' over this elemental truth...

    Moreover I aver that mathematics is no more about 'numbers' than, for instance, spoken languages are about 'words' -- Inasmuch as transcendental entities (cip ideas) are not directly palpable by corporeal (i.e. corporeally trapped) beings, we must resort to 'hand holds'...

    Do I hear you someone say "this sounds a tad theological"? --- Not at all! Though I'm profoundly proud to be a credit to my profile name!!!:cool::)

    Sincere regards
    HP
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
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  6. studiot

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    Well, all languages that I know of are tools. That is they were invented soley to serve a purpose to the inventor.

    Languages develop employ representations or models to stand in for the reality they represent in the study of the relationships between different components of reality. Yes words. Yes words can be about abstract ideas such as the abstract nouns love and hate; or they can be about real objects such as the concrete noun apple. Much more structure is currently recognised.

    It is arguable that the study and developemnt of language led to the creation of something beyond the originators' intentions which could be described as having structure in its own right, distinct from copying or representing reality. Poetry for instance.

    Mathematics too, exhibited these features. Originally developed as a tool in the earliest civilisations, modern mathematics also boasts structures in its own right with no pretence to model or represent any form of reality. Some of this is just 'filling in the gaps' for the sake of completeness.
     
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  7. tcmtech

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    No. I always cringe at the thought of watching shows like that. Too many past experiences with going with high hopes only to find out it's all just bunch of egos and fluff with very little reality involved.

    Sort of like watching those shows about how mathematicians figure out the they can beat the system at gambling only to get handed their butts in the end because reality doesn't cater to assumed probability theory as well as they think.

    That and I had downloaded Big Hero 6 so I watched that with my daughter. :p
     
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  8. Hypatia's Protege

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    While 'Language', in the common sense of the word, clearly denotes, as you suggest, an implement and, hence, a construct --- My intent by "basal language" was (perhaps clumsy) designation of the human (or, more generally, the sentient) experience of the existential and the abstract taken as a single/unique entity -- thus, ultimately, mathematics is direct perception of reality (and all corollaries thereof) in its 'rawest' aspect --- Bottom line: truth is neither construct, invention nor even creation -- but, rather, an indivisible primitive... --- Whether Mathematics is truth itself or merely the discipline by which truth may be directly perceived is a matter of semantics...:)

    In all cases 'constructed' mathematics is bad mathematics ergo non-mathematics!!!:rolleyes:

    Best regards
    HP
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
  9. studiot

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    Well we, in the UK, have an election coming up shortly and you in the US not long after.

    Isn't it wonderful to watch the politicians shouting at cross purposes at each other?

    But I'd rather not do it here.
     
  10. BR-549

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    I watch it.

    I thought we were suppose to keep religion out of the science.

    Oh, I see, you say that is science.

    Only man is foolish enough to give meaning and reverence to a tool.
     
  11. MaxHeadRoom

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    I hate watching the 'Holywood' style documentary, but I have always found Nova to be a little cut above the rest, this program did get me thinking in a direction I had not really gone before, so it can't be all bad.
    Especially interesting was the Higg's Boson discoveries confirms how mathematics are part of the natural world.
    Max.
     
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  12. #12

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    I'm with @studiot on this one. Math is just another tool.
    Observe how many people survive without using it at all! :D
    Math has been said to be the language of the universe. Schematics have been said to be the language of electronics. One of my biggest, "fails" was in neglecting to become conversant in the language of music. To me, they are all merely tools.
     
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  13. AnalogKid

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    IF math is a language - and even though we've all been taught that since grade school it is more of a pronouncement than demonstrated - IF math is a language, then it is by definition an invention. Language is a tool invented by cognition, because the second act of cognition is communication. Cognition without communication is almost like the question about the tree in the forest making no sound, except that one is stupid and the cognition one has a bit of substance to it.

    ak
     
  14. BR-549

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    The second act of cognition is hunting for women. At least that's what I remember. No language needed.
     
  15. MaxHeadRoom

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    The part I found interesting in the show was the way shown how the Fibonacci number technique used in computer searches etc, shows up in nature so very frequently.
    Max.
     
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  16. BR-549

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    It could be that the well studied and experienced mathematicians might be dismayed at the slow progress of physics.

    There are still many basic questions to explain.

    It could be that some might think the answer is not in physics.

    Physics can only solve what and how.

    It will never solve motive. It can't solve why in that context.

    Physics has failed because it can't show the mechanism of force. Only the action.

    Math has the same fate in this context.
     
  17. Hypatia's Protege

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    It could as well be said that only humanity is arrogant enough to claim 'authorship' of reality...;)

    Indeed! It seems this discussion is more one of semantics than substance -- A circumstance for which I freely own my (not insignificant) share of 'blame':oops:

    With regards and respect all around
    HP:)
     
  18. cmartinez

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    Math is just another tool... yes... and so is a brush, and a chisel and a hammer... and yet you can create the Mona Lisa or the Venus de Milo with them ... My opinionated opinion (if there's such a thing ;)) is that tools not only can create objects of beauty, but that they can also be beautiful themselves.
     
  19. BR-549

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    I agree, I have some beautiful tools.
     
  20. #12

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    I have a 1938, cast iron, drill press, redesigned by me to use modern bearings. :cool:
    Majorly beautiful tool! :p
     
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