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Math: Absolute or Relative

The Hammer

[REDACTED]
Premium Member
Is math absolute or relative?

Is it a fact of the universe, or is it man made?



Short video, may not work for most (requires an FB acct).

I've always considered math a language, something used to describe the universe, but imperfectly. Just like any language is imperfect at describing reality.
 

Heyo

Veteran Member
Is math absolute or relative?
Relative to what? I think you meant to ask if maths is objective or subjective?
Is it a fact of the universe, or is it man made?
I think maths is not only a fact of the universe but also of the cosmos, i.e. all possible universes.
I've always considered math a language, something used to describe the universe, but imperfectly. Just like any language is imperfect at describing reality.
Maths just happens to be a useful tool to describe the universe where the universe is an approximation of the ideal shapes and concepts that make up maths.
 

osgart

Nothing my eye, Something for sure
Math is a discovery of the absolute. I just wish it were organized better around real problem solving. It seems to me it is organized by the love of pure mathematics for the sake of mathematics.

When I look at math I want to discover something possible, powerful, true and relevant. I'd rather not get into lovely patterns and relationships with things that have no physical or meaningful reference. I understand people discover and invent math that later can become useful. Cheers for them!
 

Revoltingest

Pragmatic Libertarian
Premium Member
Math is a way of describing existence. It is not a form of existence, itself.
When different cultures independently discover
the same structure of mathematics (including logic),
& none find disagreement, this means that the
structure exists independently of those who use it.
It's just not tangible existence like rocks & weasels.
 

PureX

Veteran Member
When different cultures independently discover
the same structure of mathematics (including logic),
& none find disagreement, this means that the
structure exists independently of those who use it.
It's just not tangible existence like rocks & weasels.
Existence is a very complex singular event. Every 'part' is innately and inextricably related to every other 'part'. In fact, the 'parts' that we humans perceive within it only exist as independently perceived phenomena in our minds. But we aren't able to perceive the whole as it's much to expansive and complex for our cognitive capabilities. So we have to comprehend it via inter-related 'parts'.

Math is the conceptual language we humans use to recognize and comprehend the relationships happening within and between the many 'parts' that we perceive existence to be made up of. And this is why the language of math is universal among humans. Nevertheless, it is a cognitive phenomenon, like any language is.
 

Revoltingest

Pragmatic Libertarian
Premium Member
Existence is a very complex singular event. Every 'part' is innately and inextricably related to every other 'part'. In fact, the 'parts' that we humans perceive within it only exist as independently perceived phenomena in our minds. But we aren't able to perceive the whole as it's much to expansive and complex for our cognitive capabilities. So we have to comprehend it via inter-related 'parts'.

Math is the conceptual language we humans use to recognize and comprehend the relationships happening within and between the many 'parts' that we perceive existence to be made up of. And this is why the language of math is universal among humans. Nevertheless, it is a cognitive phenomenon, like any language is.
Mathematical language depends upon
creation by humans (or others). But the
language describes a system that exists
independently of the beings who discover it.
 

Bthoth

A Conscious and Capable, Pantheist
Is math absolute or relative?
Math is used to describe with measurable discourse.
Is it a fact of the universe, or is it man made?
Math is just another language, which are all man made.
I've always considered math a language, something used to describe the universe, but imperfectly. Just like any language is imperfect at describing reality.
The math is pretty succinct, the variety of theorem are what is often imperfect.
 

Yerda

Veteran Member
The fact that mathematical concepts are independently
discovered points to existence independent of discovery.
But the language of math is invented.
I'm not so sure that maths concepts are discovered in the same way that new species are discovered, for example.

If I define an object, like the integers for instance, and rules for how they behave I haven't discovered that 1 + 2 = 3 so much as stated the consequences of the definitions of 1, 2, + and =.
 

Revoltingest

Pragmatic Libertarian
Premium Member
I'm not so sure that maths concepts are discovered in the same way that new species are discovered, for example.

If I define an object, like the integers for instance, and rules for how they behave I haven't discovered that 1 + 2 = 3 so much as stated the consequences of the definitions of 1, 2, + and =.
Consider criteria for infinite series diverging or not.
Any culture that discovers infinite series will find
the same results. You'll never find that 1 + 2 =/= 3.
 

beenherebeforeagain

Rogue Animist
Premium Member

Quotations in Context: Einstein​


Author(s):
Michael Molinsky (University of Maine at Farmington)

“But there is another reason for the high repute of mathematics: it is mathematics that offers the exact natural sciences a certain measure of security which, without mathematics, they could not attain.”

“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain;
and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”


The two Albert Einstein quotations above frequently appear without citation. For example, the first quotation is printed in the “They Say, What They Say, Let Them Say” pages at the beginning of E. T. Bell’s Men of Mathematics, and the second can be found in the third volume of James R. Newman’s The World of Mathematics. The quotations, placed side-by-side, might look somewhat contradictory at first glance, since one seems to indicate that mathematics is a boon to natural science, while the other appears to say that mathematics is of no use in describing the real world; however, both of these quotations actually originate from the same source and occur only a few sentences apart.
 

The Hammer

[REDACTED]
Premium Member
Consider criteria for infinite series diverging or not.
Any culture that discovers infinite series will find
the same results. You'll never find that 1 + 2 =/= 3.

And if you teach them English, they will know to use the word "apple" instead of "apfel". We defined the terms, the terms don't define us.
 
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