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How can a modern historian interpret historical mathematicians?

Interpreting historical mathematicians involves a recognition of the fact that most of them viewed the continuum as not being made out of points. Rather they viewed points as marking locations on a ...
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Philosophy of Math Course-Exam papers [on hold]

There is a course in my university that's called ''Philosophy of Mathematics''. I was wondering if there are any exam papers from other universities, or study notes, coz I cant find something online. ...
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5answers
848 views

Meaning of the word “axiom”

One usually describes an axiom to be a proposition regarded as self-evidently true without proof. Thus, axioms are propositions we assume to be true and we use them in an axiomatic theory as premises ...
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1answer
74 views

Is it circular to define the Von Neumann universe using “sets”?

I was just reading the Wikipedia page on the Von Neumann universe, where it is stated that this universe "is often used to provide an interpretation or motivation of the axioms of ZFC." However, later ...
8
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1answer
283 views

When is a function a dimension?

The concept of dimension is used in many different contexts. Generally a dimension is a function that has as domain some family of sets ad has value on a set that, in the most common situations, is ...
2
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1answer
55 views

Cauchy's real line and math philosophy till XIX

I have to write an essay concerning philosophy of mathematics until the end of $XIX$ century. I've heard that the reason why the Cauchy's theorem (if continuous functions $f_n \rightarrow f$ then $f$ ...
3
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3answers
126 views

On “why” questions in mathematics

In response to the question How would one be able to prove mathematically that $1+1 = 2$?, Asaf Karagila explains: In a more general setting, one needs to remember that $0,1,2,3,…$ are just ...
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0answers
64 views

Is Leibnizian calculus embeddable in first order logic?

We just published an article making what we feel is a plausible case in favor of an affirmative answer in Foundations of Science, see preprint here. The basic argument is that while such a requirement ...
2
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1answer
47 views

Have humans ever used the Log Scale convention in the past rather than the Linear one?

There are many examples where our senses are based off of log scales such as volume of a noise, ability to guess (i.e.) plus or minus a power of 10 with Fermi, and even when we measure pain on 1 to 10 ...
5
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2answers
72 views

On logic vs information theory

If the statements All crows are black and All non black things are non crows are equal, then why is the former so much easier to communicate by giving examples? What implications does this ...
37
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9answers
4k views

Is complex analysis more “real” than real analysis?

In physics, in the past, complex numbers were used only to remember or simplify formulas and computations. But after the birth of quantum physics, they found that a thing as real as "matter" itself ...
6
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2answers
156 views

Law of Excluded Middle Controversy

I was reading an introductory book on logic and it mentioned in passing that the Law of Excluded Middle is somewhat controversial. I looked into this and what I got was the intuistionists did not ...
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0answers
54 views

Can I just make this function up?

The Lambert W function was made to solve the problem $xe^x=k$ for $x$, which is given as $x=W(k)$. Could I just make a function $x=F(k)$ which solves $x\cos(x)=k$? Even though the solution has an ...
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9answers
2k views

Is formal truth in mathematical logic a generalization of everyday, intuitive truth?

I'm trying to wrap my head around the relationship between truth in formal logic, as the value a formal expression can take on, as opposed to commonplace notions of truth. Personal background: When I ...
58
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9answers
5k views

Does mathematics require axioms?

I just read this whole article: http://web.maths.unsw.edu.au/~norman/papers/SetTheory.pdf which is also discussed over here: Infinite sets don't exist!? However, the paragraph which I found most ...
8
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4answers
483 views

The standard role of intuitive numbers in the foundations of mathematics

In my career I've been formed mostly in the formal side of mathematics, that is, standard set theory and every classical branch of mathematics that uses set theory. However, I am not quite sure about ...
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0answers
49 views

What questions or areas in the foundations of mathematics remain active research fields?

By foundations of mathematics I am referring to the mathematical, logical, and philosophical foundations of the subject. I'm interested in seeing which of these have active research going on within ...
3
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0answers
67 views

Are all statements about math inherently formal? Can one do math without formal logic? [duplicate]

Are all people who do mathematics applying (whether they know it or not) formal logic? Does every statement someone may make about math, at its core, a formal statement in mathematical logic? ...
20
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1answer
898 views

What Do Mathematicians Do?

The American Mathematical Society maintains a web page entitled "What Do Mathematicians Do?" which references two interesting surveys. (One of the reference links is broken, but this one works: What ...
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1answer
41 views

Different Mathematics

Hey I am a high school student who is very interested in the philosophy of mathematics. I was watching this talk by Stephen Wolfram about whether or not mathematics is invented or discovered. In it he ...
349
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35answers
42k views

Do complex numbers really exist?

Complex numbers involve the square root of negative one, and most non-mathematicians find it hard to accept that such a number is meaningful. In contrast, they feel that real numbers have an obvious ...
5
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4answers
99 views

Should we or should we not take $1$ as a prime number? [duplicate]

I think I know that there were times in the past when it was convenient to look at a number $1$ as a prime number, and, as far as I can remember, even then it was dependent on who we ask is it prime ...
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1answer
19 views

A question about the real line and the Dirichlet function.

Though the graph of the Dirichlet function is non-drawable, I think if we have to draw it in some informal way then it will be two complete lines (instead of isolated points). Here's my reasoning: ...
2
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3answers
36 views

Division of segments into infinitely many parts.

Let AB and CD be two segments, so that the length of AB is 1, and the length of CD is 2. If we divide AB and CD in infinitely many parts, how "long" would those parts be? I'm particularly interested ...
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0answers
36 views

mathematical terms with fractions and variables - usage in daily life?

what usage do algebraic fractions (monomial or polynomial) have in our life? Are there specific professions that deal with them now and then? Where exactly in technology do they have their very own ...
17
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4answers
5k views

Why do we need to learn Set Theory?

I was planning to write some article for the Mathematics magazine of our college and it occurred to me that it will be a good idea to write about the impact and importance of Set Theory. I plan ...
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2answers
60 views

Scalar multiplication as a special form of matrix multiplication

Question What do we gain or lose, conceptually, if we consider scalar multiplication as a special form of matrix multiplication? Background The question bothers me since I have been reading about ...
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0answers
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$Con(T) + T\vdash \neg\neg A$ implies $Con(T+A)$ for any intuitionistic theory T

It's easy to notice that for any intuitionistic theory T: $Con(T) + T\vdash \neg\neg A$ implies $Con(T+A)$ $Con(T) + T\vdash \neg\forall x\neg A$ implies $Con(T+\exists x A)$ where $Con(T)$ means, ...
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2answers
53 views

Impossibility of proving a foundation to be consistent

An argument came to my mind that seems really mind-blowing and I haven't found it anywhere. Here's how it goes: We call a formal system F embodied in classical logic a foundation of mathematics when ...
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1answer
40 views

What is this ontological position called?

If one believes that certain 'abstract' mathematics-like concepts do exist, yet the mathematics we construct and develop as humans are only approximations of those real concepts, approximations shaped ...
4
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3answers
164 views

What exactly are the numbers we use everyday?

Pi can be defined as diameter / circunference of a circle. But what is a circle? You can't tell a computer: "build a circle and divide its diameter by its ...
1
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1answer
101 views

Quasi mathematical objects [closed]

I was looking on this post http://www.songho.ca/math/euler/euler.html and I came to the comment that says "i is not a number at all. It is an ill-formed concept. There is a vast difference between a ...
2
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1answer
35 views

Could relational operators be used to construct formal theory of natural numbers which is “stronger” than Peano Axioms?

This is a beginner's question about foundational construction of (alternative?) number theory. The notion of mathematical equality is closely related to logico-philosophical notion of 'Law of ...
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2answers
44 views

Does defining a type of mathematical object require defining a binary relation of “equality”?

I'm trying to determine whether defining a type of mathematical object requires us to know what we mean by another object being "equal" to it. For example, when we define a type of object like set, ...
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1answer
73 views

Developments from Charles Peirce's logic diagrams?

These last weeks I have been revisiting Charles Sanders Peirce's logical or thought diagrams (what he called, alpha, beta and gamma diagramms) and I found many of them highly interesting. Some ...
3
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1answer
80 views

What exactly is wrong with this argument (Lucas-Penrose fallacy)

Argument "For every computer system, there is a sentence which is undecidable for the computer, but the human sees that it is true, therefore proving the sentence via some non-algorithmic method."
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2answers
93 views

What is the simplest mathematical object? [closed]

What is the simplest mathematical object? I am talking about mathematics in the most abstract way possible, and not as some concrete axiomatic theory (e.g. foundational ones, like ZFC). After a lot ...
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0answers
90 views

How can I learn Math intuitively? [closed]

I am currently a Junior in High School. I am in an Intermediate Algebra class, but my teacher does not always explain things in a way I can understand. I like to learn Math intuitively, but my teacher ...
3
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2answers
164 views

Does Graphical evicence count as / contribute to a Proof in Mathematics?

Several questions such as the following have an answer with pictures in it. How find this inequality $\max{\left(\min{\left(|a-b|,|b-c|,|c-d|,|d-e|,|e-a|\right)}\right)}$ How prove this inequality ...
8
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3answers
149 views

How should a mathematically-inclined person learn descriptive statistics?

I am interested in learning descriptive statistics. But I am completely baffled, that there seem to be no mathematically rigorous books on this subject, as far as I know at least. The Wikipedia page ...
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3answers
162 views

Why might Dieudonne have been “begging the question” by appealing to second-order Peano Axioms?

Following a comment by Peter Smith, I've been reading A. R. D. Mathias's paper The Ignorance of Bourbaki. Parts of the paper are above my head, but I understand it well enough for my own amateurish ...
2
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2answers
37 views

Why can't a Hilbert curve be used to put the real numbers into a listable format?

There's a very good chance this question will make absolutely no sense, as my understanding of Hilbert curves is very superficial. But let me explain where my question is coming from. From my ...
4
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0answers
87 views

Can the tehniques of higher level mathematics solve most of Olympiad level math problems through straighforward applications?

Working through many Olympiad math problems(pre-undergrad) I've found that simple applications of undergrad math will solve many of them. Does this trend go on? Can it be that Putnam problems are ...
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0answers
61 views

No Proof, Just Luck

I just read about the Goldbach Conjecture and it got me thinking about probabilities. Supposing that prime numbers are somewhat randomly distributed) then if we calculate the odds of a given even ...
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0answers
41 views

Natural numbers, divisors, primes and their generalized means

Let div, nat and pri the finite sequences given in increasing order for an integer $n\geq 1$ of its divisors $1=d_1<d_2<\ldots d_{\sigma_0(n)}=n$, the first $n$ natural numbers, and the first ...
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0answers
46 views

How can we recognize if something is a number?

There are formal definitions of various types of numbers; natural numbers, real numbers, ordinal numbers, cardinals etc. And we all regard them as some type of number. Are there properties that are ...
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5answers
723 views

How does one refute this ultrafinitist argument?

From Wikipedia: Edward Nelson criticized the classical conception of natural numbers because of the circularity of its definition. In classical mathematics the natural numbers are defined as $0$ ...
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1answer
354 views

Is there a geometrical proof of the impossibility of squaring the circle?

The impossibility of certain constructions in Euclidean geometry, such as squaring the circle with straight-edge and compass is usually shown by using algebraic methods. I am wondering if there are ...
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Intuitonism and metamathematics.

There are various reasons why one would want to reject the law of the excluded middle when doing "normal" mathematics, which I won't get to here, but accepting those, does the same reasoning hold when ...