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Opinions: was Mathematics invented or discovered? watch

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

    • Thread Starter
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    LaurenLovesMaths
    PrimeLime
    Johann von Gauss
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    I think it's discovered as it all seems to work so beautifully, however the notation of it was invented as a tool to understand maths
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    It was invented to, essentially, just explain how things work, if there were no explanations it would've all been a myth, it connects things together
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    Does it matter?
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    Bit of both
    • Thread Starter
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    (Original post by Zacken)
    Does it matter?
    We were just having a discussion on another thread so we thought it'd be fun to take it to a new thread for everyone to share ideas
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    (Original post by Student403)
    We were just having a discussion on another thread so we thought it'd be fun to take it to a new thread for everyone to share ideas
    I'm not criticising the discussion - just trying to raise an interesting point, what consequences arise if maths was discovered v/s consequences if maths was invented.
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    (Original post by Zacken)
    I'm not criticising the discussion - just trying to raise an interesting point, what consequences arise if maths was discovered v/s consequences if maths was invented.
    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!
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    (Original post by LaurenLovesMaths)
    I think it's discovered as it all seems to work so beautifully, however the notation of it was invented as a tool to understand maths
    Something working beautifully doesn't mean it was discovered - this is only further obscured by the fact that beauty is a subjective concept.

    That is, I could say that the workings of a computer are beautiful (and they indeed are), but it doesn't imply that it's discovered. So your implication doesn't quite hold true.
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    Discovered. That's why we write in binary on spacecraft.
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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 could we not discover something that was infinite? You could say we 'discovered' space and the vastness of the universe, which is infinite. So why could we not discover mathematics and have it be infinite?

    Also, we can't just invent things at random, it needs to maintain itself as a non-contradictory system.
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    One can say that it was invented to understand and prove ideas and theories. However one can also say that maths discovered when trying to prove something.
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    (Original post by Zacken)
    Why could we not discover something that was infinite? You could say we 'discovered' space and the vastness of the universe, which is infinite. So why could we not discover mathematics and have it be infinite?

    Also, we can't just invent things at random, it needs to maintain itself as a non-contradictory system.
    Hm fair point. But the universe is ever expanding, right? So whatever quantity you are to 'measure' the universe with (perhaps distance) at THIS point in time, in 1 hour it will have grown bigger than it was now. So we could say that it's countably 'infinite', right?
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    Discovered
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    (Original post by Student403)
    Hm fair point. But the universe is ever expanding, right? So whatever quantity you are to 'measure' the universe with (perhaps distance) at THIS point in time, in 1 hour it will have grown bigger than it was now. So we could say that it's countably 'infinite', right?
    Unfortunately, concepts like countably infinite don't apply to physical systems like the universe.
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    (Original post by Zacken)
    Unfortunately, concepts like countably infinite don't apply to physical systems like the universe.
    Do they not? When you take a ball in your hand, can't you assign any integer value to any point on the surface?
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    (Original post by Student403)
    Do they not? When you take a ball in your hand, can't you assign any integer value to any point on the surface?
    *a mathematically perfect ball* - not a physical ball that's an every-vibrating mess of atoms.
    • Very Important Poster
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    Discovered. Just to prove it think about Pythagoras, he didn't just decide that a^2+b^2=c^2 but discovered that that way the case.
    • Welcome Squad
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    It must've been invented, to give people a logical way (or logical illusion) of understanding something that would otherwise be impossible to explain.
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    (Original post by Zacken)
    Something working beautifully doesn't mean it was discovered - this is only further obscured by the fact that beauty is a subjective concept.

    That is, I could say that the workings of a computer are beautiful (and they indeed are), but it doesn't imply that it's discovered. So your implication doesn't quite hold true.
    Yeah I suppose, but there are certain parts of maths that you can't change no matter what, and, in my opinion, basic maths is very important for the foundations of life


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