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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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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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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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186 views

Errors of Euler interpretation?

To complement the recent post on Euler's errors, I would pose the following question: what common errors of Euler interpetation appear in the literature? What errors are attributed to Euler's work in ...
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62 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 $f$ ...
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Does math have to be learned linearly?

I am asking because often times one doesn't know where to start in math. "Just learn what you need" is very vague and unspecific ... for example, assume I'm a beginner at Algebra and was considering 3-...
2
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Do circles exist

So I was wondering about circles today and if they really do exsist. If you graph a circle in function mode, your equation looks like$$y=\sqrt{1-x^2}$$ Now for simple purposes lets take a portion of ...
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44 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 ...
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22 views

Finding unique rules for a finite number of initial steps, using Information theory

Is there a unique way to determine which rule provides the sequence that matches a finite number of initial steps, choosing the rule that needs the least amount of information to be described? ...
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Codifying ways to think and write about imprecise ideas?

This question will not be about affine spaces; rather those are mentioned here as one of many examples. A vector space has an underlying set and a field of scalars and an operation of linear ...
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Apparent Arbitrariness in Mathematics

Something about definitions in mathematics has always interested – confused? - me, I call it “arbitrariness in Mathematics” - it's a bad name, but I don't know a better one. Let me explain: 1st - ...
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124 views

Philosophical implications of P vs NP proof?

Wikipedia article on P vs NP says that "a proof either way would have profound implications for ... Philosophy" without providing further details. So I was wondering what could be the philosophical ...
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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 ...
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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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Strange Consequences of Large Cardinals in Probability

Large cardinal axioms are very strong hypothesizes and as any other strong hypothesis they have many strange consequences in mathematics. On the other hand we know that if we bring even the least ...
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looking for good book on the history of formalism

In 1868 Beltrami published a paper ""Saggio di interpretazione della geometria non-euclidea" that seems to have led to the formalist philosophy of mathematics. But what was written exactly what were ...
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285 views

How much are mathematics driven by applications?

At some point this provocative question came to my mind: Are mathematics mostly driven by applications? I am taking into account some of the comments made to my original question so I want to ...
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Constructivism implied or not

Let me take up some details in the answer of another question. Submitted by user hyg17: Heading: All real numbers can be expressed as a limit of rational numbers? The question was: Let $C$ be a set ...
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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 ...
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On the (Pre-)History of Sheaf Theory

In the wikipedia page on sheaf theory I found the following statement which somehow puzzled me: some of the facets of sheaf theory can also be traced back as far as Leibniz. Could anyone explain ...
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Is there a link between level of abstraction and use of numbers?

One of my friend who stopped studying maths in high school told me once You study maths, can you help me fill my tax forms? In her mind, advancing in maths studies implied manipulating an ...
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120 views

Can one define informational content of a mathematical expression?

At least in physicist's thinking, information, vaguely, is something that allows one to select a subset from a set. Say, a system can be in states A and B, we have done a measurement on it (...
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253 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". ...
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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 ...
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“Probable” truth in mathematics

This might be more of a philosophical question, but why in mathematics is the tendency to only accept formal proof as a means of finding out what's true? In the physical sciences there's no such ...
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Is there any solution to Frege's criticisms of Hilbert's Geometry without the application of Model Theory?

Recently I have come across the interesting debate of Frege and Hilbert regarding the Foundations of Geometry. It seems to me that the main concern of Frege was on the Logical Consistency of Hilbert's ...
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Why are divergent Fourier series all so 'HARD'?

I'm not sure if this question is appropriate or even making sense, but I still feel curious: why are every example of divergent Fourier series SO COMPLICATED? It usually takes pages to construct and ...
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What if segments are not infinitely divisible?

I almost got myself mixed up I a philosophical discussion again. Somebody was talking about the Planck time and length which are, according to him, the minimal possible time and distance, and how ...
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Is it possible to be a frequentist and a subjectivist at the same time?

I'm trying to understand the differences between (1) Bayesian vs frequentist; and (2) subjectivist vs objectivist. So far my understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) is that: (1) Bayesian vs ...
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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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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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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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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 ...
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Imagening the Thurston geometries

I can (more of less) imagine how it would look if space was Euclidean, spherical of hyperbolic. But there are 8 Thurston geometries see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geometrization_conjecture how ...
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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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An adequate difference between $\forall x\in A:P(x)$ and $(\forall x)(x\in A\rightarrow P(x))$?

Ever since I was a young student I have felt doubts about the traditional $(\forall x)$-expression: starting a statement with such an irrational lack of focus doesn't seems reasonable! I mean, all $x$ ...
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Tensors as mathematical objects

Continuing my journey to understand Tensors, Maxwell's equations. Here is my current understanding. Is it correct? Tensors are mathematical objects, i.e., an entity in mathematical reality or a ...
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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 ...
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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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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 $n$...
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Did Ackermann produce a finitary consistency proof of second-order $PRA$?

In Wilhelm Ackermann's Doctoral Thesis (it is claimed, by Richard Zach, for one, in his paper "The Practice of Finitism: Epsilon Calculus and Consistency Proofs in Hilbert's Program", arXiv: math/...
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Intuitionistic response to Russel's Paradox

I'm having a look at intuitionistic approach to mathematics, and stumbled upon a derivation of Russell's Paradox that doesn't use the LEM. (Why did mathematicians take Russell's paradox seriously?)...
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Completeness property in signal analysis

Why completeness is an important property for signal analysis such as Fourier? What if we don't have a such a property?Many books discuss that the vector should not have a hole to complete.what is ...
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Question on a note by Kreisel

In Kreisel´s "Two notes on the foundation of set theory" he writes in a footnote that 2 is to be considered as measurable and omega is also measurable. Further more he goes on to say that an ...
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What is the physical significance of arithmetic operations?

Here is an example of what I mean by physical significance: When we use some geometric or trigonometric identity, let us say Pythagoras' theorem to calculate the length of the diagonal of a field, ...
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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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Is there a name for this constant? (0.0100011011…)

It's the simplest number I could think of that contains any finite binary code in its digits: $$\begin{align} c &= 0.0100011011000001010011100101110111...\\ &= 0.\;0\;1\;00\;01\;10\;11\;000\;...
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A Question Regarding Ordinal Turing Machines

Consider the following theorem of Koepke: 'A set x of ordinals is ordinal computable from a finite set of ordinal parameters if and only if it is an element of the constructible universe L". Taking ...
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Are there intensional classes independent of the set universe?

The hereditarily finite sets can be regarded as purely extensional sets. Furthermore, they are quite independent of the underlying set universe (at least if we look at them from an extensional point ...
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Multiplying an object by time instead of dividing. What happens when?

Let "a" be apples, and "s" be seconds. a= 1 apple. a/s= 1 apple for every second (an accumulation of apples). a/s/s= 1 apple for every second, for every second (an acceleration of the accumulation ...