Monday, October 19, 2020

Is Mathematics Invented or Discovered?

 It's a series, with some very bright people discussing the issue.  The few I have listened to have a pretty good ability to explain it in a way I can understand.  This one was fun.


james said...

He is indeed. FWIW, I'm firmly in the "discovered" camp. Our descriptions may be invented, but the things themselves, from integers to affine spaces, have always existed--in the mind of God, if you like.

Anonymous said...

Roger is the man. He has better ideas about reality than almost anyone else. His idea that it is the actual dissipation of everything, long after the last black hole evaporates, that is the cause of the next big bang, is golden. And very Buddhist indeed.

I have been, very lazily I must admit, trying to bring the somewhat incomprehensible Buddhist texts into a modern perspective. Quantum mechanics, Sean Carroll's interpretation of Everet's 'Many Worlds', and Roger Penrose are at the base of that effort.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I am much in the "discovered" camp as well, James. The arguments for invented all come back to what I find to be a shallow premise, that because we all see things differently, therefore there is no solidity to any of it. I always shake my head. While it is true that in a fallen world, with fallible intellects, reality may be fuzzy about the edges, this does not in any way imply that it therefore has not solid meaning. Winter is actually different from summer, after all, no matter how hard the boundary is to define and individual days of weather might not fit the category.

I admit this is a place where I break my own rule about not pretending to know motives. At this point I do strongly suspect that people just don't like the consequences of reality. Science Fiction readers may remember the story "The Cold Equations."