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Opinions: was Mathematics invented or discovered? watch

  • View Poll Results: Was mathematics invented or discovered?
    Mathematics was invented
    49.18%
    Mathematics was discovered
    50.82%

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    I think it depends whether we define Mathematics as the set of axioms that we started with, or something else.
    Although we could say that everything following 'logically' from those axioms is mathematics itself, in which case mathematics = logic.
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    (Original post by Zacken)
    The mathematicians do the maths, the wishy washy philosophers do the "is maths invented or discovered" thing.
    And what about the mathematicians who are also philosophers?
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    Discovered.
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    To me Mathematics is nothing more than the product of human thought.
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    (Original post by StrangeBanana)
    And what about the mathematicians who are also philosophers?
    Like the horrid folk over at Oxford with their Mathematics and Philosophy course?
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    I think mathematics was invented to represent the (what we would now describe as) mathematical relationships in the world around us.
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    The notations and concepts were invented (functions, sets, groups etc. are all abstract concepts), but given these concepts, certain (not immediately obvious) consequences of these models were discovered, which can be usefully applied to real life situations.
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    Maths is a language so invented
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    The real question here, and it's a fascinating one, is what is the nature of maths? Is it just in our minds? Does its truth come from merely correlation to objects in the world, or are mathematical objects "real"?


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    Both.
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    (Original post by banterboy)
    The real question here, and it's a fascinating one, is what is the nature of maths? Is it just in our minds? Does its truth come from merely correlation to objects in the world, or are mathematical objects "real"?


    Maths is more than numbers.
    This is more general:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbNymweHW4E
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    I think it depends on your definition of maths.

    As a language I would say invented obviously.
    But as a concept then I'd say discovered - such as the amount of maths in nature etc?
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    That would be an ecumenical matter.
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    (Original post by Student403)
    I see..

    I think if it was invented, that would imply there are infinitely more things to find out (aka invent ourselves) about the subject. Whereas if it was discovered, that could imply there is a finite number of things left for us to discover!
    Why can't there be an infinite amount of discoverable patterns?
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    (Original post by Bruhh)
    I think it depends on your definition of maths.

    As a language I would say invented obviously.
    But as a concept then I'd say discovered - such as the amount of maths in nature etc?
    Ah, but is there really any 'maths' in nature? We just use mathematical structures to describe nature!
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    Mathematicians create axioms; scientists discover axioms.

    A mathematical theorem could perhaps be described as a necessary conclusion that follows from a given set of axioms. Perhaps mathematical theorems are simply a more convenient statement of the axioms for whatever end needs meeting. In any case, it could hardly be called invention to write down necessary truths, however retiring they may be. It may require creativity to find these truths, but the process is not creation.

    Equally, it is not a process of discovery. Discovery to me implies something experimental, something observed. All of mathematics, in theory, could be proved by one man sitting in a concrete bunker given sufficient time, paper and pens. Our man need not discover anything. The information is all there for him. He simply needs to restate it.


    Mathematicians, beyond axioms, do not invent, nor do they discover. Mathematicians deduce.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
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    Both. A set of axioms is "invented", and then all logically necessary implications of those axions are "discovered".
 
 
 

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