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Post Reply Was Mathematics Invented or Discovered?
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Posted 5/11/16
Thought about this topic a lot lately and coincidentally I saw this topic on Youtube in a related video. A very interesting psychological/philosophical question that I've seen a lot of different answers on. Could speak a lot for human nature or reality.


My views:
Both. I believe intelligence is how far an organism's consciousness/self-awareness is pushed into it's subconscious and that the subconscious is where all thought's/commands are processed, which is also the domain of mathematics.
As man evolved and we got more and more intelligent our brains pushed far enough into the subconscious to discover mathematics, but that wasn't enough. In order to put that into fruition we needed the ability of invention, otherwise that discovery would be never brought to reality in the first place.

It's a Yin/Yang sort of deal, one without the other is useless. Though if I was totally forced to pick a biased side and not both, I guess I'd have to give the technicality to Discovery?


Any other smart people who'd like to tackle this idea?
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Posted 5/11/16
I think mathematics is invented. To me mathematics is a language and a tool created by people to try and give order to things.

Sorry if my explanation is a short and poorly worded, I'm lacking in the intelligence department.
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Posted 5/11/16
The answer is 'yes'. Because people discovered that counting matters to civilizations, they invented several forms of mathematics.
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Posted 5/11/16 , edited 5/11/16
isn't it both?
Many different methods and ways to do things would be disovered and invent new things or better things.
and much more?
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Posted 5/11/16 , edited 5/11/16

gornotck wrote:

The answer is 'yes'. Because people discovered that counting matters to civilizations, they invented several forms of mathematics.


The Egyptians formed the right-triangle-hypotenuse theory long before Greek geometry, using knotted rope, since they needed to form triangular blocks for the outside of pyramids.

Generally speaking, although the Romans and Hebrew used letter-numbers, numerical systems didn't become popular with a civilization until they had something they wanted to COUNT--Like, cattle, citizens, soldiers, slaves, etc.
There's a good History of Math series on BBC (and Netflix), but Monty Python's Terry Jones did it better: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrLQW1vQklE
atleap 
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Posted 5/11/16
Mathematics is a tool we created, as I see it. The answers were discovered but the means were invented.
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20 / Cold and High
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Posted 5/11/16

atleap wrote: the means were invented.
but then some came by accident.
leading to a new discovery

atleap 
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Posted 5/11/16 , edited 5/11/16

Freddy96NO wrote:


atleap wrote: the means were invented.
but then some came by accident.
leading to a new discovery



True, but a lot of big inventions came from accidents. Like Penicillin, or potato chips
I'd still attribute those to invention.

Maths is different though since the answers are already there, we need to come up with the proper sequence to understand them and 'see' them.
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Posted 5/11/16

atleap wrote:
Like Penicillin, or potato chips
Don't tomato my potato!

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Posted 5/11/16
Here is the explanation to your pondering, Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_ZHsk0-eF0 .
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21 / M
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Posted 5/11/16
Mathematics was invented as a way to help us understand the universe. Math didn't exist until people thought it up.
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21 / Australia
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Posted 5/11/16
Mathematics was discovered, Mathematics is logic based after all and logic is prescriptive.
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15 / F / Idaho
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Posted 5/11/16
Both, I think it's like science and language. Like a science, the stuff's there to be discovered; we just need to invent a way to get there ; like a language, we invented it to be a tool for learning and discovery.
Posted 5/11/16 , edited 5/11/16
Math as in the language was invented. The underlying principles it can be used to represent were discovered. Indeed, new symbols are invented as new concepts are discovered. Take Gottfried Leibniz for example, who came up with the notation we recognized as an integral, ∫ among others.
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Posted 5/11/16
- Is Mathematics Invented or Discovered?
- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/derek-abbott/is-mathematics-invented-o_b_3895622.html


1) Math is innate. The reason mathematics is the natural language of science, is that the universe is underpinned by the same order.

2) Math is a human construct. The only reason mathematics is admirably suited describing the physical world is that we invented it to do just that.

If the universe disappeared, there would be no mathematics in the same way that there would be no football, tennis, chess or any other set of rules with relational structures that we contrived. Mathematics is not discovered, it is invented. This is the non-Platonist position.

3) Math is not so successful. Those that marvel at the ubiquity of mathematical applications have perhaps been seduced by an overstatement of their successes.
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