Philosophy And Mathematics

kidakida Join Date: 2003-02-20 Member: 13778Members Posts: 1,458
edited July 2004 in Discussions
Philosophy is subjective.
Mathematics is objective.

Knowledge is obtained properly through empircal methods from a proper anaylysis of induction and deduction. With mathematics there is no arguement, there is no hot or cold, true or false; either one has to be.

Philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom through subjective means.

Most of you probably already understand the differences between the two, but what I want to expose is, of which, do you suppose is more correct in the sense of pursuing truth? Whatever that my actually be.

Comments

  • Soylent_greenSoylent_green Join Date: 2002-12-20 Member: 11220Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 2,875 Advanced user
    IMO math is an arbitrary game that happens to be an extremely usefull tool for describing things that exist in real life but it's just a game, I see no reason why a lot of mathematics must be formulated in the same way as it is today, I don't think there is anything guaranteeing that you can't say the exact same thing in a very different way. Also, it is allways and is allways going to be incomplete(look at gödel's incompleteness theorem for a bit of sobering up).

    Philosophy is just... it's... pointless bickering about outdated issues most of the time...

  • Asal_The_UnforgivingAsal_The_Unforgiving Join Date: 2003-03-26 Member: 14903Members Posts: 623
    As for which is best at the pursuit of truth, I would say neither. Without math, you can not be sure what you see is correct, you cannot prove it, there is always that doubt, and you cannot make use of it. You will never fully understand it.

    Without Philosophy, you cannot make use of the holes in math. It can prove something is, indeed. But it can not tell you why it is. It cannot tell you what may be more, and it cannot tell you what you have failed to see. The numbers can reveal great wonders, but also conceal great secrets.

    The best is the use of both, Math to prove, solidify, and make use of the knowledge gained, while Philosophy expands, extends, and deepens your understanding of the world.

    Science, what a wonderful thing.
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  • EuoplocephalusEuoplocephalus Join Date: 2003-02-21 Member: 13811Members Posts: 184
    Oh...its got to be philosphy, its warm and fuzzy, not cold and heartless like math. Who really likes the stark unplesant thought that 2 minus 2 is always always always always gonna be zero? Its always either right or wrong, not like philosphy, where as long as you can continue to back up your assertion you can never be wrong. tounge.gif

    Plus if its not philosphy I've wasted the last few years of my life, and an obscene amount of money.....If philosphy isn't truth, then what good is a philosphy degree? confused.gif
  • SwiftspearSwiftspear Custim tital Join Date: 2003-10-29 Member: 22097Members Posts: 7,019
    edited July 2004
    Your asking us to choose which is better, the theory of relitivety or quantum mechanics. Just because you the two things contradict eachother, does not mean that one or the other is wrong, it simply shows that we haven't found a suitable means of unifying them yet.

    The ultimate truths will be hypothosized by philosophy and proven by math.

    QUOTE
    Plus if its not philosphy I've wasted the last few years of my life, and an obscene amount of money.....If philosphy isn't truth, then what good is a philosphy degree? confused.gif
    Yeeessssss, we all know that philosophical skills are much more sought after in the job market than mathimatical skills tounge.gif
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  • moultanomoultano Creator of ns_shiva. Join Date: 2002-12-14 Member: 10806Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Gold, NS2 Community Developer, Pistachionauts Posts: 4,219 Advanced user
    I really don't think there is as much of a difference between the two as you are suggesting. Math is just a subset of philosophy. So is logic. Godel's incompleteness theorem was as much of a philosophical discovery as it was a mathematical discovery.

    Generally if the impression people get of philosophy is that it is warm and fuzzy and imprecise, they aren't really learning philosophy. They are learning the history of philosophy. Modern philosophy (outside of ethics) is so intermingled with abstract math and logic that it is difficult to separate them.
  • illuminexilluminex Join Date: 2004-03-13 Member: 27317Members, Constellation Posts: 784
    Believe it or not, there is a part of math/science that has become indistinguishable from philosophy; it is called Chaos Theory.

    Chaos is one thing that Euclidian mathematics cannot deal with. In Euclidian math, and most of the other mathematical schools that exist, Chaos is not accounted for, and, in modern Physics it is simple stamped with a little equation, as though it doesn't matter. Chaos theory proves that not only does Chaos exist, but it has pattern to it, and that Chaos theory can be used to study things like stock markets, mobs, the weather, etc.

    As soon as you begin contemplating Chaos Theory, you get to the idea of infinity, an uncomfortable issue for many people.

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  • panda_de_malheureuxpanda_de_malheureux Join Date: 2003-12-26 Member: 24775Members Posts: 1,633
    I like logic. Logic is what keeps people sane. Therefore I would have to go with mathmatics.
  • eggmaceggmac Join Date: 2003-03-03 Member: 14246Members Posts: 1,152
    QUOTE (illuminex @ Jul 3 2004, 03:03 PM)
    in modern Physics it is simple stamped with a little equation, as though it doesn't matter.

    The analysis of Chaos is one of the most fertile and popular parts of modern classical mechanics nowadays. There is a huge amount of research on chaos, chaos synchronisation, on chaos prediction etc.

    So don't worry, physics is really concerned about this topic smile.gif

    On another note, in my view philosophy can only be applied after maths, or more precisely, after physics have given a concrete basis. Otherwise philosophy just drifts into phantasy. But it is needed to properly understand the nature of the laws that govern our universe. And although modern science has originated from philosophy, philosophy nowadays needs to originate from modern science.
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  • kidakida Join Date: 2003-02-20 Member: 13778Members Posts: 1,458
    The problems left for math to solve our way above the intelligiable capacity of most people. I don't think many of us are willing to start from step one and are able to tenacitize all the way to step two. Now insert philosophy or simple inductory explanation.
  • amarcamarc Guide Scribe Join Date: 2003-06-03 Member: 16982Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Supporter Posts: 378
    Doesn't mathematics solely rely on our perception though? What if that perception is false... Plato's cave for example. I see it as a ying-yang relationship.
  • eggmaceggmac Join Date: 2003-03-03 Member: 14246Members Posts: 1,152
    edited July 2004
    QUOTE (amarc @ Jul 19 2004, 12:34 AM)
    Doesn't mathematics solely rely on our perception though? What if that perception is false... Plato's cave for example. I see it as a ying-yang relationship.

    This is what's so exciting about maths: It predicts certain relationships and laws which then can be observed in nature! Mathematics, invented by man and relying on man's perception, does indeed describe natuere how it truly is and how it can be observed. Strange, isn't it?
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  • Marine0IMarine0I Join Date: 2002-11-14 Member: 8639Members, Constellation Posts: 1,870
    Maths and philosophy often comment on things that the other has no business dabbling in. If you wish to expand that more broadly into science vs philosophy, then you are practically talking apples and oranges.

    Take for example, the existance of God. Science is unable to deal with anything outside the observable and repeatable. If a supernatural God exists, then science will be unable to detect him, especially if he can control and change things ie make miracles happen. Philosophy however, now that can be used, in conjunction with logic, to begin to make comments and to help form opinions on such matters.

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  • FieariFieari Join Date: 2002-10-22 Member: 1566Members, Constellation Posts: 872
    What I find amusing is that the only way to determine whether philosophy or mathematics is more useful is to use philosophy. Since asking questions in this manner IS philosophy. The very question is a philosophic question.

    But once you've gotten through epistimology, mathematics is a d*mn fine tool that I'm proud to be able to use as well as I can, and I'm glad to learn more about every day. Calculus rocks. Physics rules. It's all meaningless unless you have meaning, but once you've got meaning, go for it!
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  • kidakida Join Date: 2003-02-20 Member: 13778Members Posts: 1,458
    edited July 2004
    What is meaning? That word could have so many defintions - abstracts of a different form or dimension. That is philosophy, or like Moultano said, what a lot of historical philosophers were about: rhetoric, semantics, and sophilisms. Now I understand that one could digress into so many thoughts and lose himself completely in terms of doubt, which is what a lot of philosophy is: conjectures based on opinion - but truth is subjective based on that mode of thinking.

    To me mathematics seems like a concrete block. We can gain many answers to certain questions, but a lot of these answers are deduced. Like I said, not a lot of people will be able to understand long lists of enumeration in certain mathematics, and be enlightened with that type of truth; what it lacks is emotion, or relativity to life. Therefore, philosophy is used to explain in relative terms what is hard to grasp numerically, and that is what some of you have hit upon.

    Personally, the more I know the more I doubt and become confused. To me truth is absolutely infinite. It boils down to your personal meaning of justifying existence, or what your purpose is, and that combined with all the variating temperances man is capable of, will produce a mode of subjective
    truth; be it anything per se.

    For me it would be "freedom" of "myself" and this "world."
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  • BlackPlagueBlackPlague Join Date: 2004-02-02 Member: 25990Banned Posts: 1,099
    85% of america doesnt know math... THE PROPER MATH
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  • ZelZel Join Date: 2003-01-27 Member: 12861Members Posts: 1,610
    math can be just as fluid and fuzzy as any philosophy; when you get into very high levels, we arent talking about arithmetic, we are talking about probability statistics.

    math and phil are really the same thing, describing the universe. math uses precise instances like "integer+integer = integer" while phil uses language to compare terms. many people get confused an have phil misconstrued as something imprecise, but that is simply semantics. if you truly understand what the author meant by his words in any philosophical book (instead of a modern interpretation) it will be just as clear and precise as an equation.

    at a certain level of abstraction, the truths of both will merge.
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  • TrevelyanTrevelyan Join Date: 2003-03-23 Member: 14834Members Posts: 2,227
    QUOTE (version91x @ Jul 3 2004, 08:47 AM)
    I like logic. Logic is what keeps people sane. Therefore I would have to go with mathmatics.

    Sanity is overrated...

    Philosophy seems much more dynamic to me then math... and thats probubly why I'm not a math person.
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  • ZelZel Join Date: 2003-01-27 Member: 12861Members Posts: 1,610
    QUOTE (Trevelyan @ Jul 20 2004, 11:32 PM)
    Philosophy seems much more dynamic to me then math... and thats probubly why I'm not a math person.

    Math is extremely dynamic once youve got the requisite theorems and equations in your head. it's quite a hurdle for beginners, think of it this way, once you know how every part of a car works you are free to design and build one. but not very many people have the ability to really understand how EVERY damn part of a car works, and you cant leave any out.

    thats probably why i am a math person.
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  • illuminexilluminex Join Date: 2004-03-13 Member: 27317Members, Constellation Posts: 784
    QUOTE
    Take for example, the existance of God. Science is unable to deal with anything outside the observable and repeatable. If a supernatural God exists, then science will be unable to detect him, especially if he can control and change things ie make miracles happen.


    If you really do research into the depth of Chaos Theory, you come to the real interesting part of chaos: chaos is governed by self-similarity, meaning that you see the same thing everytime you zoom in our out. You come across similar shapes, patterns, etc, even though nothing ever repeats. If Chaos is the math of nature, which it is, than nature is governed by something powerful.

    Chaos Theory made me turn from Atheism to a more "New Age" spirituality.
  • eggmaceggmac Join Date: 2003-03-03 Member: 14246Members Posts: 1,152
    The problem I see is that philosophy hasn't brought any new inventions and no clear insights in anything. Whereas our whole life today, which is different on the life of a human being during the stone age, is based on maths.
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  • ZelZel Join Date: 2003-01-27 Member: 12861Members Posts: 1,610
    edited July 2004
    QUOTE
    Take for example, the existance of God. Science is unable to deal with anything outside the observable and repeatable. If a supernatural God exists, then science will be unable to detect him, especially if he can control and change things ie make miracles happen.


    If something exists but is not observable or repeatable or able to be interacted with in any way. what the HELL is your definition of exist?
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  • CMEastCMEast Join Date: 2002-05-19 Member: 632Members Posts: 1,655
    They answer different types of questions, how can they be compared?
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  • TEFishTEFish Join Date: 2003-11-13 Member: 22811Members Posts: 4
    QUOTE (Marine01 @ Jul 19 2004, 01:01 PM)
    Science is unable to deal with anything outside the observable and repeatable.

    But isn't the "Hypothesis", the first component of the "scientific method" (mathematical investigation too) in fact guided philosophy?

    And science routinely deals with topics which are unobservable, empirical, and unrepeatable. In fact that is how it advances. As a physician, I deal with these type of data (that is a plural btw), and act on it scientifically every day. I will concede that scientific dogma, is hopefully observable and repeatable, but the most interesting areas of scientific investigation often are not.

    Another interesting, and mathematically promising area of modern physics for, example, is string theory - which has an undeniable philosophical element to it.
  • ekentekent Join Date: 2002-11-08 Member: 7801Members Posts: 781
    I'm not addressing the literal topic, but I think i can clarify some concepts that seem muddled.

    I often council: the first step towards resolving dispute is agreeing on a shared terminology. Hence, if you need to discuss a concept and don't really understand it, crack a dictionary. Hence:

    Philosophy is not merely subjective.

    Mathematics is not purely objective.

    If you argue "knowledge is obtained properly through empirical methods" then you would be excluding -- by definition -- mathematics from proper knowledge. Mathematics is not an empirical science.


    (In fact, not long ago knowledge was considered organized rather differently.

    At the top you had philosophy. This was an umbrella term denoting a way of thinking which under it were topics such as metaphysics (study of reason for being) and logic (study of valid inferences). Mathematics is the logic of numbers.

    That's why the highest degree you can get in most disciplines is called a PhD (doctor of philosophy).)


    I find that organization to be a little more revealing, even though it may be less practical, since it highlights the development of knowledge throughout history. The first sophists were similar to how you characterize philosophers, sitting on a street-corner, rambling and spouting poetry for loose change. But it was obvious that in order to get a grip on how the world works people would have to start developing useful mental tools.

    Out of that sprung theology, logic, mathematics and eventually science, which appears to be by far the strongest method for gathering and characterizing knowledge (although one could argue that it is also the least concrete).

    To construct a very stretched out analogy, your brain is a toolbox, different disciplines are individual tools, knowledge is a malleable resource you can use to advance yourself in the world -- but only if you shape it correctly. Think of the baby game where you try to fit different shaped blocks into correspondingly shaped holes.

    Chances are, if your tools are all all well-founded, you could pick one and hammer away until the block eventually fit. More likely you will find yourself using several tools as particular situations arise.
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