someone asked this question recently and sparked off a nerd like row about abstract concepts. interested to hear what anyone thinks or if anyone even cares.
does maths exsist outside the mind?(4 posts)
Posted 14 years ago #
This is like asking if a tree falls in the woods and there is nobody there to hear it, does it make a noise?
Much of math is to describe existing physical phenomena -- paths of falling objects, planets in their orbits, motion of waves of water or air. The realities are there whether they are thought about or not. What about colors or love or anything else? Unless you get into the idea that everything that exists is only a thought in the mind of God.
What those who understand higher math can say is that it supports the idea of a higher intelligence designing things to behave constructively. The numbers of branches on trees at various heights, the patterns of seeds in sunflower or pine cone, obey mathematical relationships. Math even has something called chaos theory.
I wonder how mathematical Britt's mind is? Cool title and lyrics and tune, which reminds me that music is mathematical.
Does anything exist outside of the mind?
Math exists at the most basic level of reality possible, but the numbers and names and variables we assign are all something that humans created. So math as a "language," or our interpretation of it, does not exist outside of the mind, but math itself does. There are laws to math that we have not even approached yet which exist and affect the universe but are not part of our understanding of math. These laws exist, but not in our minds. So:
humankind's interpretation of math = mind only
math in all its glory = extant
Interesting question. I like philosophical stuff like this, though I'm not smart enough to make it very far in the discussion. I think the universe exists with or without us, and math is just our way to help organize it and make it tangible to us. Math can't exist without someone there to think about it, but the items/actions/forces that math tries to describe/organize still exist. Make sense?!?
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