Mathematics, discovered or invented?
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June 29th, 2013 (5:59 PM).
Uh, I didn't do it
Join Date: Aug 2011
It depends on your point of view. At it's heart, this is actually a truly philosophical discussion. It's usually simply put as the philosophy of mathematics. I get to use my philosophy minor!
The concepts that math describes have always existed, but math itself, its formulas and equations, are all man made.
My reasoning: I lean more toward contructivism, more associated with language and learning.
Humans, as a result of language, are visual people. How do we teach children new words? We hold up the item and tell them the word associated with it. How do we teach children to read? We use flashcards with the item pictured on one side and the word
on the other. And it's not purely visual. We associate letters to coincide with sound, and random letter pairings into words, and those words become the item. Did you know that most people don't even had to read words in order to understand them? Who hasn't seen that paragraph explaining this. That our brains only care about the first and last letter of a word. Why? Because we view the word as a whole. We are a visual society, further confirmation.
What it all comes down to is language and answering the question of what is math? Math, at its heart, is a language. So what is a language? A language, like math, has its own rules, etc, but that's not what I am focusing on.
Language is how man associates with the world around him. Try to describe something without words, like an apple. You can't, it's impossible. Language has become one with how we associate with reality, so naturally we try to understand reality within the confines of something we can understand, math... language.
Math is just another language, another way for humanity to describe reality. Some would even call it
perfect language, since say, there is no way to mistake 6 for 4.
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