Turn on thread page Beta

The Greatest Mind of All Time watch

Announcements
  • View Poll Results: Read thread for question.
    The Mathematician
    35.35%
    The Physicist
    36.36%
    The Philosopher
    34.34%

    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by philosophy_kid)
    Yes this is true. But the only way we know it is true is because we are able to reason it.
    It's a hard concept to explain.

    Yes it is an analytical statement, but the problem is if all that is around us conforms to a particular idea then it all appears to work together.
    Say in a dream you think you are a bar of chocolate. The fact that you are walking around your house with friends as normal appears to be perfectly normal.
    In this sense reality is a dream where we are fooled by everything, be it synthetic or analytic data.

    So it might seem that '2+2' is synonymous with '4' and only '4', but it could be the case that it is synonymous with everything or nothing.

    I know it is difficult to grasp. Yes, in the reality in which we exist, or rather in which we think we exist, '2+2' can only equal '4', but it is possible that not only synthetic data, but also analytic data is flawed. I'm not saying that it is, but only that it could be. The problem is that it cannot be proved either way, which means that we cannot call it valid and sound.

    The simplest way I can say it, and this example is probably not the best but it's the best I can do right now. Say you program a computer in such a way so as it 'thinks' that the colour blue can only ever exists when the colour red is not present.
    Within the 'reality' of the computers 'mind' it is simply the case that the above statement must be true. But outside of that environment we know it to be untrue.
    Thinking outside of our own reality may present truth which we cannot comprehend. I may present seeming contradictions or even actual contradictions, but unfortunately we can never know what is outside.

    So if we cannot even know what true reality is, we cannot say that mathematics is true.

    --
    And I didn't pick one, because it's a flawed question, at least when we are arguing at these depths.
    So you're saying that whilst though the mathematician may think he is right logically, he might be wrong in some 'higher reality'? Though his thinking is perfectly logical in his own reality?

    If the robots are all working in the same reality, then, the mathematician will be greater since he is working on analytical logic, rather than the physicist who is working on empirical data? Or than the philosopher, who takes an hour to put his thoughts together into something understandable ?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Lu-x)
    So you're saying that whilst though the mathematician may think he is right logically, he might be wrong in some 'higher reality'? Though his thinking is perfectly logical in his own reality?

    If the robots are all working in the same reality, then, the mathematician will be greater since he is working on analytical logic, rather than the physicist who is working on empirical data? Or than the philosopher, who takes an hour to put his thoughts together into something understandable ?
    If you're gonna **** me off for the fun of it then forget it. I took time to try and explain it to you - and you **** me off for that too.

    Cheers buddy.

    You'll go far in academia.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by philosophy_kid)
    Maths says that 2+2=4.

    Take the computer example again. If you program the computer the know that 2+2=5 it will simply know that 2+2=5, and will construct proofs to evidence it.
    Similarly, if we do indeed receive all 'empirical' understanding from 'ideas' then we have no way of knowing what is right or wrong, and no way of proving it. Indeed, the possibility exists that there is no mathematics at all. Or philosophy. Or anything.

    Yes, I hear you scream, 'but how can you prove this?'...well that's the thing, you cannot prove that it is the case, but equally you cannot prove that it is not the case, because we are trapped within our perceptions.

    So...if we cannot be 100% certain of anything at all, then we cannot be 100% certain about Mathematics.

    Ergo - your reason for picking mathematics is not valid...
    For the sake of this thread; lets assume 2+2=4.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by TŎM)
    For the sake of this thread; lets assume 2+2=4.
    Ok - assuming that reality is as we think it is, the next step, for me, would be to consider the question. And the most obvious points to clear up would be:

    1) What is meant by greatest mind? Does it mean: in which of the three offered fields of study does the most intellectual individual work?

    2) What is mean by 'of all time'? Is that the modern era - or all thinkers of all times, possibly including the future? Also, if it means all past and present thinkers is the level of intelligence, which I take to mean of mix of understanding and knowledge, to be considered relevant to the maximium possible intelligence at a particular time in history?
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by philosophy_kid)
    If you're gonna **** me off for the fun of it then forget it. I took time to try and explain it to you - and you **** me off for that too.

    Cheers buddy.

    You'll go far in academia.

    LOLZ chill out man.
    It was a general joke about philosophers thinking strange things and talking a lot :p:
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by philosophy_kid)
    Ok - assuming that reality is as we think it is, the next step, for me, would be to consider the question. And the most obvious points to clear up would be:

    1) What is meant by greatest mind? Does it mean: in which of the three offered fields of study does the most intellectual individual work?

    2) What is mean by 'of all time'? Is that the modern era - or all thinkers of all times, possibly including the future? Also, if it means all past and present thinkers is the level of intelligence, which I take to mean of mix of understanding and knowledge, to be considered relevant to the maximium possible intelligence at a particular time in history?
    A1) Yes; no questions about how the greatest mind is decided; it just IS!

    A2) When eugenics creates the ultimate human intelligence (so in the future); three of them are selected for equal amounts of education by equally effective professors in 1 of the 3 fields in identical environments. They are taught everything that the human brain is capable of understanding in their field.

    EDIT: Just realised A2 makes it hard to decide who wins out of the mathematician and the physicist.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by TŎM)
    A1) Yes; no questions about how the greatest mind is decided; it just IS!

    A2) When eugenics creates the ultimate human intelligence (so in the future); three of them are selected for equal amounts of education by equally effective professors in 1 of the 3 fields in identical environments. They are taught everything that the human brain is capable of understanding in their field.
    If I don't know what 'greatest mind' means, then I can't answer the question.
    Besides, the route that you are going down suggests that you want the answer to the question: 'which of the three selected fields of study, each being known absolutely, would be the most useful when applied by a human being fulfilling its understanding absolutely?'

    Is that correct?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by philosophy_kid)
    If I don't know what 'greatest mind' means, then I can't answer the question.
    Besides, the route that you are going down suggests that you want the answer to the question: 'which of the three selected fields of study, each being known absolutely, would be the most useful when applied by a human being fulfilling its understanding absolutely?'

    Is that correct?
    Yeh, but the robot version is more fun.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by TŎM)
    Yeh, but the robot version is more fun.
    Well then all of them would be obsolete. Everything would be known - so nothing more could be achieved. So my answer would be none of them.

    All fields of study interlock and rely on one another. Without one, there can be very few advances in the other. All fields are useful; and all fields require intelligent individuals.

    If you're asking me, in very very basic terms, who possessed the greatest mind of all time then I would pick Aristotle, and he was a jack of all trade. He created entire disciplines, as well as making huge advances in mathematics, physics and philosophy, as well as every other subject known in his time.

    He's the paradigm example.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by philosophy_kid)
    Well then all of them would be obsolete. Everything would be known - so nothing more could be achieved. So my answer would be none of them.
    Would everything really be known? Would the greatest philosopher know of dark matter, anti-particles and nuclear energy?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by TŎM)
    Would everything really be known? Would the greatest philosopher know of dark matter, anti-particles and nuclear energy?
    No but that isn't his field
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I'm retiring from this thread. The physicist is losing, not fair. :'(
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by TŎM)
    I'm retiring from this thread. The physicist is losing, not fair. :'(
    No one lost! They all ate candyfloss and rode giant pink badges through a portal to a world where they were all transformed into rainbow coloured unicorns grazing on pure knowledge.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Dr Mark Sloan
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Leonardo da Vinci, without a doubt.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by philosophy_kid)
    If you're asking me, in very very basic terms, who possessed the greatest mind of all time then I would pick Aristotle, and he was a jack of all trade. He created entire disciplines, as well as making huge advances in mathematics, physics and philosophy, as well as every other subject known in his time.
    He's the paradigm example.
    :no: The guy who thought the word was divided into the elements: fire, earth, air, water & aether. That guy right? Also, his mathematical contributions were not as big as some of his contemporaries or as big as what you make them out to be.

    Let me just point out also, it was far easier then to have a wide breadth of knowledge because there wasn't that much depth involved in many of those subjects. That said, it would have been far harder to obtain knowledge then.

    If I had to pick 'the greatest' (subjective as it is) it would be a tossup between Archimedes, Newton, Gauss or Da Vinci; being scientifically biased though, my opinion is bound to receive criticism.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by indefenseoftruth)
    Einstein
    Buckiminster Fuller
    Fred Sanger
    Ramanujan
    Hans Bethe
    Van Vleck
    Freeman Dyson
    John Bardeen
    A. J. Corey
    Niels Bohr
    P. Dirac
    E. Schrödinger
    ...

    wasnt buckminster fuller just an architect?
    (not knocking the profession, but was he really that great?)


    and i reckon the physicist.

    also, Huygens was a bit on the clever side.
    Offline

    4
    ReputationRep:
    All of the greatest physicists were mathematicians. Were all of the greatest mathematicians physicists ? (the answer to that is no, lol) As for philosophers, well they bore me FAR too much to make an informed opinion.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    Physicist. While I think that Mathematics is more important, smart Physics guys are usually smarter than smart Mathematics guys.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by spex)
    All of the greatest physicists were mathematicians. Were all of the greatest mathematicians physicists ? (the answer to that is no, lol) As for philosophers, well they bore me FAR too much to make an informed opinion.
    No, to say all of the greatest physicists were mathematicians is entirely wrong and misleading. Physicists often use only a very very limited scope of mathematics in their work.

    In fact, I think it would be easier for the mathematician to become the physicist, than for the physicist to become the mathematician.

    Actually Gauss was a brilliant mathematician and a brilliant Physicist, but primarily a mathematician. Einstein however, would not have been to work on pure mathematical conjectures as easier as anyone else would have.
 
 
 
Poll
Do you like exams?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.