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ALine

question about mathematics in respect to philosophy

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I think this may belong in philosophy, however not entirely sure.

What is the meaning of mathematics?

By this I mean what is its purpose/function?

Is it a tool which is used to formulate relationships between different variables in order to develop constants in order to give characteristics/ properties to different things?

Is it a whole different universe with distinct rules which are to be followed like our reality in order to develop and analyze this mathematical universe?

Is it to model the real world and then see how they interact with this mathematical universe?

Is it meant to capture changes in different things and there behaviors?

Or is it just something fun to play around with?

p.s. do not really have a goal for this post, just wanted to ask the question to see if a definition can be concluded. Or at the very least to understand everyone's different interpretation and understanding of the field of mathematics.

 

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15 hours ago, ALine said:

I think this may belong in philosophy, however not entirely sure.

!

Moderator Note

I agree: moved.

 
15 hours ago, ALine said:

What is the meaning of mathematics?

By this I mean what is its purpose/function?

Its practical function is to perform calculations that are useful in everyday life: from economics to physics or medicine.

But pure mathematics is just the pursuit of knowledge I guess. Although it may discover new "tools" whose application isn't known until much later (e.g. "imaginary" numbers, which turn out to be very useful).

There is a whole debate around whether we discover mathematics (ie it is something that already exists "out there") or if it is something we have invented. I tend to that latter view, although there are good arguments on both sides.

There are some people who think that mathematics is a 'real thing" and that the whole universe just emerges from mathematical rules. I do not find that very convincing. But it is surprising that we can describe the universe so well using mathematics.

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William Lane Craig and others balance their whole argument for the existence of God on the argument that some things just exist, outside of time and space, and Maths is the example they use of such a class of "thing".

I view maths as a property of stuff, not something that exists on it's own. You can have 3 oranges, but there is no such thing as "3". 

I can't think of any other thing that exists outside of time and space, Craig gives the impression that there is a whole class of "things" that exist necessarily, but maths is the only one I've heard him actually mention. Well, maths and god. But God is the thing he's trying to prove exists, so that doesn't count. 

Edited by mistermack

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