Mathematics, discovered or invented?
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June 29th, 2013 (10:39 PM).
The Seeker of Pies
For once I find myself agreeing - at least in part with Black Ice. Calling it a Chicken and the Egg debate is a fairly poor comparison, because it is fairly obvious that the principals existed long before the language did.
@Black Ice - You're not doing much to contribute to the conversation by coming in here and knocking the thread and those contributing though. It doesn't matter if you think this is a stupid debate (which makes you participating in it rather interesting - no offence intended) all that matters is the debate itself.
@Plumpy - Okay you got me on your latest Square vs Cube, I can't out do you on that one. But I still must disagree with your assessment as this of a situation with no right or wrong and only different views. Either maths is a language we invented, a principal we discovered, or two sides of the same coin. There's not really any grey area - one of those categories is correct and only one. But I appreciate how you are trying to look at this.
As for the debate itself - Language and images are two related but separate entities that are both a part of literacy. That's the way I see that little side-step.
More on topic - Let me ask you this. If you discovered a brand knew principal today, you would probably name it correct? Quite probably after yourself. But this principal most likely existed long before you would have named it, you are simply attaching this title to the principal so you are able to refer to it. Before naming it you may have simply used a question mark to denote it in your research notes, but you have still essentially used a language to brand it.
Since it is a mathematical principal you have hypothetically discovered you undoubtedly have a formula that represents it, but again the principal itself existed long before you used a formula to denote it.
Did you discover the principal in this scenario? Yes
But you didn't discover the language you use to describe it, whether that is it's name in English or the Formula you have used to represent it. The language you are using is a human invention - we created it to communicate at a higher level, to describe objects and their components, and have refined it over time.
You will probably argue that you may have discovered the formula for this principal. But I have a counter-argument for that: You discovered the workings of the formula, a principal, the formula itself you invented. Say you decided to us a/q*x = t as your formula. Value one divided by value two then multiplied by value three equals value four. Where
Value 1 = a
Value 2 = q
Value 3 = x
Value 4 = t
In this scenario, you have determined what each of those values is denoted by. You could have just as easily used the letter b, z, r and w to represent the values in your formula - and if one of those values corresponds to an already discovered principal that just means someone else went through the same process for that value earlier on where they discovered the value and then used language to represent it.
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