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cameron marical

what is math?

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Mathematics is the "study of numberlike things" or "philosophy of numbers"

 

Numbers are patterns. Mathematics is the science of patterns.

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Numbers are patterns. Mathematics is the science of patterns.

 

Numbers aren't patterns. They can be arranged IN patterns, but they are not patterns themselves.

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@coke: Your examples don't help your case since you didn't define any of them well at all. Really, try to provide a definition for Physics or Chemistry that people would be happy with if a thread similar to this one were constructed for such a debate on those topics.

 

Well, no I meant like if you say

What is chemistry?

Study of chemical interactions, etc. etc.

 

Chemistry is many things, chemical interactions are just one part of it.

 

What is physics?

Study of forces, matter, etc. etc. etc.

 

This is just as bad as saying:

What is Math?

Study of numbers, functions, etc. etc.

 

What is english?

Study of the language english.

 

The study of English includes much more than the language itself, it also includes (but not limited to) its usage, both historical and in various mediums (though I will contend that literature may be easier to define than Physics, Chemistry or Maths).

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Numbers aren't patterns. They can be arranged IN patterns, but they are not patterns themselves.

 

Pattern usually refers to some repetition.

 

[math]\mathbb{R}[/math] is a totally ordered set (with [math]<[/math] or [math]>[/math] being the order).

 

Does that constitute a pattern? I am not sure it does, but I do think it is the kind of Patrick Henry is alluding to.

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It is a huge point of fascination that just about all areas of "pure mathematics" can be useful if not essential in describing the real world.
The point of fascination for me is how they can be studied without the intent of ever being useful in the real world - then after decades or even centuries of them being a point of purely intelectual interest, they turn out to be useful. Think how long prime numbers have been studied before anyone had heard of cryptography.

 

[math]\mathbb{R}[/math] is a totally ordered set (with [math]<[/math] or [math]>[/math] being the order).

 

Does that constitute a pattern? I am not sure it does, but I do think it is the kind of Patrick Henry is alluding to.

I'd say that the formal definitions of the common number sets are paterns - so the reals are defined as the set that follows the patern of continuity, orderedness and the ring axoims.

 

So yeah, the study of patterns is an alright definition - although a bit vauge. If I really had to pin it down then I'd say it's the study of well defined objects.

 

Maths doesn't have one use - it can be studied as a tool to physics doable, it can be studied for it's own inherent beauty, it can be studied as a challenge for the sake of a challenge or it can be studied just to give school children a hard time.

 

*a few more things than that, to define them strictly, I think, but whatever.

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What is Math?

Study of numbers, functions, etc. etc.

 

Yeah, I like that one! That's exactly the kind of answer I was looking for. (not sarcastically)

 

Seriously I think that's the perfect answer to this thread.

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Yeah, I like that one! That's exactly the kind of answer I was looking for. (not sarcastically)

 

Seriously I think that's the perfect answer to this thread.

 

Although I used it as an example of a bad example, I partly agree.

 

It seems we are trying to find a definition of Maths that is as rigorous as typical Mathematical definitions are. Perhaps the English language is not suitable for such a definition and we can just put up with "yeah maths is this sort of stuff" and move on? Perhaps maths is whatever an individual wants it to be?

Edited by BigMoosie

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Although that really is a terrible example - when you say "this sort of stuff" you should at least be reffering to a pretty long list. I guess it works like beauty and pornography - impossible to define comprehensively but you'll know it when you see it.

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. I guess it works like beauty and pornography - impossible to define comprehensively but you'll know it when you see it.

 

I think this is a good example as what is beautiful or pornographic will depend on the individual.

 

Mathematics is a lot like that. Just look at the wide range of work done in a typical mathematics department.

 

I cannot think of or find a very clear cut definition of mathematics. To me it is about the study of "abstraction and structure".


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Consecutive posts merged
maths is all about how well you can make one crazy!

 

You mean enlightened, LOL

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