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13
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6answers
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What philosophical consequence of Goedel's incompleteness theorems?

I want to write a philosophical essay centered about Goedel's incompleteness theorem. However I cannot find any real philosophical consequences that I can write more than half a page about. I read the ...
53
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6answers
6k views

In what sense are math axioms true?

Say I am explaining to a kid, $A +B$ is the same as $B+A$ for natural numbers. The kid asks: why? Well, it's an axiom. It's called commutativity (which is not even true for most groups). How do I ...
2
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1answer
324 views

Russell Paradox and set theories

The Russell paradox arise in the Cantor set theory, but it can be avoided in the $ZF$ and in $NGB$ axiomatic set theory. Are there other axiomatic set theories in which this paradox can be avoided? ...
6
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1answer
151 views

Hidden structures

There is a lot of talk about "hidden structures" in the realm of mathematics: hidden structures in the ZFC system, hidden structures in the natural number system, and so on. Saunders Mac Lane ...
6
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1answer
373 views

Structuralist slogans

I am afraid to make a bad impression by misusing this forum but I am looking for as-many-as-possible mathematically inspired formulations and references to one (sometimes vague) idea. The idea is ...
6
votes
2answers
404 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
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0answers
225 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
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1answer
98 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
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5answers
328 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
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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
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4answers
473 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
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5answers
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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
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4answers
958 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
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0answers
566 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
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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
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3answers
399 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
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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
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3answers
349 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
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5answers
995 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
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4answers
422 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
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1answer
251 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
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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
263 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
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3answers
698 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
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3answers
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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
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1answer
394 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
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1answer
402 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
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1answer
166 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
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7answers
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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
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12answers
6k 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
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8answers
2k 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
216 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 ...
4
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2answers
879 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
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1answer
198 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
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2answers
636 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
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1answer
277 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 ...
24
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6answers
2k 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
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4answers
525 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
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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
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11answers
6k 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
515 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
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17answers
5k 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
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0answers
218 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
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2answers
357 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 ...
6
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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 ...
12
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10answers
1k 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
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5answers
772 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
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2answers
276 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
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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
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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. ...