Questions involving philosophy of mathematics

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Why does mathematics fits so well with reality? [on hold]

I have been pondering about why all the proofs in mathematics works. Why does the logic we have fits so well with this world? I mean, a different specie (some aliens say) might have a completely ...
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2answers
29 views

Why are Euclid axioms of geometry considered 'not sound'?

The five postulates (axioms) are: "To draw a straight line from any point to any point." "To produce [extend] a finite straight line continuously in a straight line." "To describe a circle with ...
29
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4answers
2k views

Avoiding proof by induction

Proofs that proceed by induction are almost always unsatisfying to me. They do not seem to deepen understanding, I would describe something that is true by induction as being "true by a technicality". ...
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2answers
70 views

How to generate complicated looking identities such as $\sqrt [3] {2 + \sqrt 5} - \sqrt [3] {2 - \sqrt 5}=1$ easily?

How to generate complicated looking identities, or even more complicated looking identies such as $\sqrt [3] {2 + \sqrt 5} - \sqrt [3] {2 - \sqrt 5}=1$ easily? I saw the identity to be shown. What is ...
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1answer
95 views

Why a line is said to have infinite number of points? [duplicate]

Why a line is said to have infinite number of points? Is this so because a line is ever lasting or we can not count how many points does it have? Finite means: Having an end. Infinite means: No end! ...
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0answers
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what is the relationship between a circle and a square? [closed]

can you make a square without using a circle since degrees of angles come from a circle and you need a right angle to make a square? did the ancients come up with all of their geometry by simply ...
2
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1answer
115 views

I need help understanding Frege's definition of number

I have really been trying to understand Frege's definition of a number or at least gain a strong intuition of it. However, my attempts have not been fruitful. If someone could help me it would be much ...
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2answers
40 views

When the probability model of an experiment is correct?

Suppose I wanted to tell what's the probability of event $A$: getting 2 tails in a row of 5 coin tosses. According to the classical definition of probability, the probability of this event is equal to ...
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2answers
61 views

What is mathematical definition of a fluid?

I am searching the precise and mathematical definition of a fluid for a long time but I did not find it anywhere. What I mean by precise and mathematical can be understood by the following: There is ...
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7answers
633 views

Interviews of famous modern mathematicians

I was wondering, are there any good collections of interviews of famous modern mathematicians? It can be text interviews, or audio or video recordings. I am not sure what exactly I mean by "modern". ...
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0answers
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curves in Poincare half space (3 dimensional hyperbolic geometry)

Okay maybe I am going a bit ahead of my self The Poincare half plane still has many mysteries for me But still I was puzzeling about the 3 dimensional variant of it. So lets assume an hyperbolic 3 ...
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4answers
132 views

Peano's Axioms: Mathematical Philosophy

In Peano Axioms, why is it necessary to define number and successor. Does not using them imply that we know what they mean? Or could they have just as easily been any two arbitrary terms which are not ...
2
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1answer
63 views

Principle of mathematical induction

In his book “Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy” Bertrand Russell seems to reach the conclusion that mathematical induction is a definition and not a principle. In essence he states that ...
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3answers
166 views

Every planar graph can be embedded on a sphere - formal proof?

The proof of the following theorem: A graph can be embedded on the surface of a sphere without crossings if and only if it can be embedded in the plane without crossings. is very short- The ...
2
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2answers
85 views

Error in Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy

Is this an error in the text or am I reading incorrectly. What am I missing? Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy Page 18 Definition of Number “A relation is said to be “one-one” when, if $x$ has ...
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3answers
2k views

What would be the immediate implications of a formula for prime numbers?

What would be the immediate implications for Math (or sciences as a general) if someone developed a formula capable of generating every prime number progressively and perfectly, also able to prove (or ...
5
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3answers
197 views

Is there an area of study regarding why certain mathematical definitions are useful?

Often in my studies I'll come across an definition, which I understand, and but don't necessarily see why the particular definition was chosen to be studied. For example, the topological axioms ...
18
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7answers
976 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. ...
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2answers
61 views

a question of infinity [closed]

If infinity or infinities cannot be physically proved ie actually counted, how do we know they really exist
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2answers
58 views

What are the uses of cross-theoretic identifications within mathematics?

I've been thinking about the identification of objects from different mathematical theories. For example, when you do set theoretic constructions of the natural numbers and identify, e.g., 0 with the ...
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2answers
102 views

Does randomness exist? [closed]

I've been plagued with this question for a few years now and wanted to know what others think. Does true randomness really exist? In mathematics, a random process is based on the concept of random ...
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1answer
83 views

Is a derivation a proof?

Is there a difference between "derivation" and "proof"? I imagine a derivation is a type of proof but that proofs are perhaps more general. Although then again, I suppose every proof should be ...
40
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14answers
3k views

Is there such a thing as proof by example (not counter example)

Is there such a logical thing as proof by example? I know many times when I am working with algebraic manipulations, I do quick tests to see if I remembered the formula right. This works and is ...
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1answer
35 views

Justifying the use of real numbers for measuring length

I am not sure if this is the most appropriate place to post this but here goes nothing: Assume we were trying to come up with system of numbers $S$ to model our intuition of length. We want $S$ to ...
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1answer
50 views

More details of the “Standard View og Proof” with three points are needed.

I have a Danish book about the theory of knowledge for mathematicians which I have tried my best to translate some parts into English. According to the lecturer, we can with "certain reasonability" ...
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9answers
5k views

Infinite sets don't exist!?

Has anyone read this article? This accomplished mathematician gives his opinion on why he doesn't think infinite sets exist, and claims that axioms are nonsense. I don't disagree with his arguments, ...
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2answers
191 views

Why is homeomorphism understood as stretching and bending?

A function $f: X \to Y$ between two topological spaces $(X, T_X)$ and $(Y, T_Y)$ is called a homeomorphism if it has the following properties: $f$ is a bijection (one-to-one and onto) $f$ is ...
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0answers
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Computability, Continuity and Constructivism

Triggered by an IMO extremely interesting question & Mathematics Stack Exchange, asked by Dal: Computability and continuous real functions And a link in one of the comments that could have ...
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11answers
4k views

How do people who study intensely abstract mathematics “imagine” or understand the concepts they are studying or being taught? [closed]

This question is probably to the actual people who study such mathematics, rather than any "third-party". I haven't studied any such mathematics, but I can imagine that some (probably most of it) of ...
2
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1answer
47 views

Given ∼R and ∼ B, derive ∼ (R ∨ B)

*This question deals with the derivation system SD (Sentential Derivation), the rules of which can be seen on pages 3-4 here: http://www.shamik.net/teaching/materials/dasgupta%20SL%20definitions.pdf ...
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2answers
140 views

The word “times” for multiplication…? [closed]

The word "times" for multiplication operation which is quite touching to the concept of time (feeling time this way 0*1=0). When was introduced that term? Did any other language have the kind of term ...
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6answers
3k views

Why is mathematical induction a valid proof technique?

Context: I'm studying for my discrete mathematics exam and I keep running into this question that I've failed to solve. The question is as follows. Problem: The main form for normal induction over ...
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2answers
38 views

Question about induction to infinity with regard to Bolzano's philosophy

I'm a philosophy and mathematics student, and I'm writing a paper on a proof put forward by Bolzano that if we can know one thing to be true, then we can know infinite truths. Put simply, he states ...
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1answer
280 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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2answers
118 views

Is the first-order incompleteness of a theory (like arithmetics, set theory or logic itself) avoidable in a second or higher-order axiomatizations?

Can we avoid the first-order incompleteness of a theory (like arithmetics or set theory) in a second-order theory which contains the previous? How does it depend on the chosen semantics or models? If ...
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2answers
68 views

Why does randomness exhibit a pattern in the long run?

!!! Layman here so please avoid complex math and answers. Random (usually pseudorandom) events are usually characterized along these lines: Each outcome in a trial experiment must be i.i.d.; i.e. ...
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6answers
2k views

Why accept the axiom of infinity?

According to my readings, Russell showed that a principle Frege used to reduce Peano arithmetic to logic lead to a contradiction. So, Russell tried to reduce mathematics to logic a different way but ...
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2answers
72 views

What is the difference between a counter-intuitive statement and a paradox?

In mathematics and logic, what is the difference between a counter-intuitive statement and a paradox? For example, what differs something like the Banach-Tarski theorem or Gabriel's horn from ...
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3answers
217 views

When and where the concept of valid logic formula was defined?

I was stimulated by a recent question about Gödel Completeness Theorem. All my citations are from Jean van Heijenoort (editor), From Frege to Gödel : A Source Book in Mathematical Logic (1967). ...
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11answers
3k views

Why not both true and false?

Why can't some mathematical statement (or whatever is the correct term) be both true and false? For example we can prove (e.g. by induction) that $1+2+3+\cdots+n=\frac{n(n+1)}{2}$ for all positive ...
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3answers
1k views

What did Gauss think about infinity?

I have someone who is begging for a conversation with me about infinity. He thinks that Cantor got it wrong, and suggested to me that Gauss did not really believe in infinity, and would not have ...
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1answer
108 views

What's the difference between “unprovable” and “undecidable”?

It seems to me that there is a difference between an unprovable sentence, and an undecidable sentence, but sometimes I have the impression that some authors use the terms interchangeably. In my ...
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1answer
64 views

Sheaves in Philosophy

I once found a book on google.books. It was about the applications of sheave theory to philosophy or more general to social studies. I don't remember for sure. i just know it was not the book Sheaves ...
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5answers
205 views

Does taking courses in mathematics give any help for mathematical logic?

I'm undergraduate student of philosophy department and I think I'll major in mathematical logic. For studying mathematical logic, I thought studying math lectures would give help to logic. So I ...
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1answer
122 views

Is the anti-foundation axiom considered constructive?

In the area of theoretical computer science that I am interested in, constructive mathematics is of practical interest because it gives algorithms that can be implemented on a computer. However, ...
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1answer
66 views

What does if-then has to do with not being true?

I'm reading Chihara's: Constructibility and Mathematical Existence. It says: An even more radical view rejects the assumption that mathematics is true—at least in the straightforward way that ...
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5answers
2k views

Can mathematics get from other sciences what it got from physics?

Throughout history, physics has been an unparalleled source of '' inspiration'' for discovering/inventing mathematical ideas, which is due to its ability to describe the physical world. But can this ...
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2answers
149 views

Is mathematics invented or discovered? [closed]

In physics for example, and in science in general, facts are "discovered" in the sense that they arise from observing nature. A particle is discovered if we can measure its existence in nature. A law ...
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25answers
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Can a coin with an unknown bias be treated as fair?

This morning, I wanted to flip a coin to make a decision but no coins were in reach. There was however an SD card on my desk: Given that I don't know the bias of this SD card, would flipping it be ...
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2answers
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philosophy : first axiom of geometry and variable curvature

The very first axiom of geometry can be described as: Two different points lay on one and only one line. And I was wondering are there surfaces where this axiom irrecoverably fails? and I found ...