Questions involving philosophy of mathematics

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6
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2answers
394 views

Are there any non-self-referential statements that cannot be assigned a truth value?

Statements like A) A is false. or B1) B2 is true. B2) B1 is false. cannot be assigned a truth-value due to their ...
3
votes
0answers
220 views

Does the concept of predicativity need to be formalized to go beyond Feferman-Schutte ordinal?

Feferman-Schütte ordinal is sometimes said to be: ....first impredicative ordinal, though this is controversial, partly because there is no generally accepted precise definition of "predicative". ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

Reference request for Intuitionism

I need to write an essay on Intuitionism for my Philosophy of Science class, and I'm looking for books which cover the following topics: Brouwer's Intuitionism, from both a philosophical and ...
3
votes
5answers
326 views

Essays on the real line?

Are there any essays on real numbers (in general?). Specifically I want to learn more about: The history of (the system of) numbers; their philosophical significance through history; any good ...
7
votes
2answers
149 views

Literature on general paradox?

I suppose this one teeters on the edge of un-mathematical, but here it goes... I've been on something of a logic binge lately and have (surprise, surprise!) especially been interested in the results ...
5
votes
4answers
468 views

From continuity to differentiability and analyticity- what's next?

Continuity is an intuitive concept. I will not dwell on the precise definitions of continuity and the rest here. Note that differentiability is a more restrictive condition than continuity, while ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

The status of high school geometry

Okay, so we've all seen Euclidean geometry in primary and high school. Back then, I really thought of points as indivisible entities in space and lines as 'breadthless lengths'. As far as I could ...
8
votes
4answers
938 views

Is the set of all mathematical truths countable or uncountable?

Is the set of all theorems countable or uncountable? Maybe its a stupid question. I just wanted to know. I am led to think that since, we use a finite set of symbols and English letters, the set of ...
5
votes
0answers
533 views

Mac Lane and Eilenberg's motivations for category theory

I'm looking to understand the conceptual process that brought Eilenberg and Mac Lane in developing the basic concepts of category theory. I quote Mac Lane's book "Category theory for working ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Definition of “non-constructive proof”

I was wondering if it is possible to define exactly what a non-constructive (nc) proof is. I have often seen the concept associated with the use of principles such as the axiom of choice or the law of ...
12
votes
3answers
393 views

Is there any difference between a math invention and a math discovery? [closed]

From wikipekia: The calculus controversy was an argument between 17th-century mathematicians Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz (begun or fomented in part by their disciples and associates – ...
1
vote
4answers
473 views

Does $3+2=5$ have a non-physical interpretation? [closed]

Normally we consider simple arithmetic to be related to the world of objects. So the sum $3+2=5$ means $3$ three apples and $2$ apples gives $5$ apples. But is there an alternative interpretation ...
1
vote
3answers
341 views

What is the difference between a parametric equation and a mathematic law?

First of all sorry for my English, I'm not used to communicate with this language. I want to ask something about a thing that I discovered while studying physics (AKA applied mathematics). There is ...
6
votes
5answers
988 views

Inherently discrete concepts

Are there any concepts which are naturally defined only for the integers and so far has resisted any attempts at extension to other fields such as rationals or reals? Does not meet criteria: ...
3
votes
4answers
411 views

Evidence of Absence = Absence of Evidence?

Any clever-cloggs out there who can explain the formula below in more simple English please? - Do you agree with the formula?
2
votes
1answer
248 views

Truth and undecidability

I believe this is more of a philosophical question. Given a consistent theory T and a statement S independent of T. Can S be true or false in T? (I don't see any contradiction with that) I read that ...
28
votes
3answers
1k views

Rejecting infinity

I've heard about mathematicians who defend a strictly finite conception of mathematics, with no room for infinity. I wonder, how is it possible for these people to do this? Are there any concepts that ...
6
votes
1answer
259 views

Generalisation of dualities, what concept do dualities represent?

Duality is a concept that pops up in different areas of mathematics as well as other science, but besides being a "woo isn't that nice?", is there anything more to duality (than loosely stated some ...
10
votes
3answers
672 views

Difference between undecidable statements in set-theory and number theory?

Do all statements about the integers have a definite truth value? For instance: Goodstein's theorem is clearly true, otherwise we could find a finite counterexample thus it would be possible to ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

What is a physical “dimension” - in the sense of “dimensional” analysis?

Mathematically speaking, what does it mean to say that a physical quantity is some numerical value with a “dimension” associated with it? When we say that the velocity of light is some constant, c ...
12
votes
1answer
385 views

Formalizing metamathematics

I am reading historical/philosophical stuff on the concept of "metamathematics" and am by now quite confused. Several questions emerged, but they are probably somehow confused and interrelated, I ...
8
votes
1answer
399 views

Ultrafinitism and the denial of existence of $\lfloor e^{e^{e^{79}}} \rfloor$

I was reading about Ultrafinitism and the denial of existence of $\lfloor e^{e^{e^{79}}} \rfloor$ by ultrafinitists. I am wondering if they were to deny the existence of $\lfloor e^{e^{e^{79}}} ...
6
votes
1answer
163 views

Exotic Manifolds from the inside

As we know, an exotic $\mathbb{R}^4$ is a manifold which is homeomorphic, but not diffeomorphic to the standard $(\mathbb{R}^4,id)$, and there are even very explicit descriptions of them (Kirby ...
18
votes
7answers
1k views

Definition of definition

I was wondering if there is a good way to "define" what definition means exactly in mathematics. Since the answers may be subjective or philosophical, I want to ask only for references on this topic. ...
51
votes
12answers
5k views

I need mathematical proof that the distance from zero to 1 is the equal to the distance from 1 to 2 [closed]

I didn't know how to phrase the question properly so I am going to explain how this came about. I know Math is a very rigorous subject and there are proofs for everything we know and use. In fact, I ...
14
votes
8answers
1k views

Reference request: is mathematics discovered or created?

I have to write a short monograph as an assignment for a course on the philosophy of science. Being a math student, of course I want to opt for something math-related. After some initial ideas which ...
5
votes
2answers
215 views

What is characteristic (function, polynomial, etc)?

My question is - what's the nature of characteristic functions, equations and so on? Am I right in understanding that this is just the general term for naming "ways" to find some invariants of some ...
5
votes
2answers
840 views

Can one rigorously define “meaningful” versus “arbitrary” in math?

Often we regard certain mathematical expressions, or elements thereof, as arbitrary, in the sense that they have no apparent reason or cause, whereas more beautiful or natural seeming expressions feel ...
2
votes
1answer
197 views

Multiple quantifier translation

Having some difficulty translating into English from Symbolic logic (the mixture of the quantifiers are confusing to me): ∀x(¬∃yBackOf(y, x) → Large(x)) Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks! ...
9
votes
2answers
622 views

How many different proofs can a theorem have?

I notice some problems has many different proofs, do all theorems have multiple proofs, is there some theorems which has only 1 way to prove it? $n$ ways? infinite?
8
votes
1answer
276 views

When can we say that a theorem has been proven?

I'm taking a Data Structures and Algorithms course for a CS program. The introductory material was all mathematics, mostly a series of formulas that we are to remember. I can work through the formulas ...
23
votes
6answers
1k views

What are natural numbers?

What are the natural numbers? Is it a valid question at all? My understanding is that a set satisfying Peano axioms is called "the natural numbers" and from that one builds integers, rational ...
8
votes
4answers
492 views

Consequences of solving the Halting problem

What impact would a device (ie super-computer or relativistic computer or other method) that solves the halting problem have on math? Would there be any mathematical problems left to solve? What ...
0
votes
1answer
145 views

Need help performing a tree method to test for satisfiability

For those who commented on my previous questions, sorry for the lack of information and explanation. Clearly I did not do a good job of explaining myself so I deleted the question and hope this one ...
24
votes
11answers
5k views

Good books on Philosophy of Mathematics

Where can I learn more about the implications, meta discussions, history and the foundations of mathematics? Is Russell's Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy a good start?
4
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2answers
505 views

Law of Excluded Middle in Logic Proof

I'm having some difficulty doing a proof for the following: $$\neg A \vee \neg(\neg B \wedge (\neg A \vee B))$$ It is said that you could use the law of excluded middles. Any help or guidance would ...
41
votes
17answers
4k views

What's the goal of mathematics?

Are we just trying to prove every theorem or find theories which lead to a lot of creativity or what? I've already read G. H. Hardy Apology but I didn't get an answer from it.
4
votes
0answers
217 views

Finitistic objections to the current mathematical model

I recently read this pdf: Warning Signs of a Possible Collapse of Contemporary Mathematics, and I'm having some trouble understanding the issues it raises. The author says that the consistency of ...
0
votes
2answers
356 views

Equality of abstract structures

Philosophical questions concerning the difference between equality, isomorphism, equality upto (unique) isomorphism, undistinguishability, and the like are not very popular among practicing ...
5
votes
10answers
4k views

Does a negative number really exist?

Second Update: I see that some answers that reference my image are more closely answering my question. Here is a second image to clarify my point. Take this image representing a checkerboard like ...
11
votes
9answers
975 views

Problems that are largely believed to be true, but are unresolved

Are there unsolved problems in math that are large believed to be true, but for reasons other then statistical justification? It seems that Goldbach should be true, but this is based on heuristic ...
7
votes
5answers
749 views

Philosophy (Logic)

I was reading my daily reddit and came accross this link to a new double major at Oxford, Computer Science and Philosophy. http://www.comlab.ox.ac.uk/admissions/ugrad/Computer_Science_and_Philosophy ...
6
votes
2answers
275 views

Ideas about Proofs

If there are two different proofs for one theorem, at some level are the two proofs the same, or can they be fundamentally different? In other words, if you have two proofs of a theorem, can one show ...
33
votes
17answers
3k views

Non-Scientific questions solved by mathematics

I have a general question about the applications of mathematics. What are some applications of mathematics that are not scientific, perhaps maybe literary or philosophical, or political. I am ...
27
votes
1answer
2k views

$e^{e^{e^{79}}}$ and ultrafinitism

I was reading the following article on Ultrafinitism, and it mentions that one of the reasons ultrafinitists believe that N is not infinite is because the floor of $e^{e^{e^{79}}}$ is not computable. ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Common misconceptions about math

YARFMO (Yet another reposting from Mathoverflow) ;-) The more you know about math the more you find conceptions previously thought correct to be false: 1.) math is not as exact as many believe - in ...
3
votes
3answers
280 views

categorization of logic

(1). I was wondering about what are the relation and differences between formal and informal logic? What topics does each of them have? For example, topics such as Meaning and Definition, Syllogistic ...
10
votes
5answers
676 views

Time in Mathematics

I claim that it is commonly believed that Mathematical objects can be seen as genuinely static, with no "Platonic" time in which they do genuinely evolve. Nevertheless time has its place in ...
1
vote
1answer
193 views

Making meaning of mathematical “bridges”

I apologize for posting such an untechnical question, but with responses it could surely be posed in a better form. I'm a math noob, but I've seen (as we all have) a few examples of "connections" ...
0
votes
1answer
160 views

Alternative, consistent frameworks of mathematics with isomorphic mappings to physical phenomenon

A friend of mine who is quite an aggressive Nominalist told me the other day: "Mathematics and numbers are arbitrary; they can accurately predict physical systems in real life only because they are ...