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May 25th, 2014, 04:59 AM  #1 
Senior Member Joined: Apr 2014 From: zagreb, croatia Posts: 234 Thanks: 33 Math Focus: philosophy/found of math, metamath, logic, set/category/order/number theory, algebra, topology  Philosophy of math
I read a mathematician is a mathematician during week and a philosopher on sunday. Reffering to the Bible, I guess. I wonder to what school, if any, you belong? If to the question if mathematical statements refer to something we answer 'no', we're a pure formalist. If we answer 'yes', it's possible to claim that the things the statements describe is somethung the existence of which depends on the human mind, something the mind constructs. We're a constructivist then, who includes intuitionist. If we claim that the existence of things described by math statements doesn't depend on the human mind, that the mind doesn't construct it, but only discovers, more successfully or less succesfully, we're a platonist. If we claim math comes down to logic, we're a logicist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_mathematics 
May 25th, 2014, 09:56 AM  #2 
Math Team Joined: Jul 2011 From: North America, 42nd parallel Posts: 3,372 Thanks: 233 
I'm a Platonist with a generous sprinkle of Cartesionist 'I think Therefore I am' peppered in. I'm a CartÃ©PlatoNisionist 
May 25th, 2014, 10:14 AM  #3 
Senior Member Joined: Aug 2012 Posts: 2,305 Thanks: 705  
May 25th, 2014, 10:21 AM  #4 
Global Moderator Joined: Nov 2006 From: UTC 5 Posts: 16,046 Thanks: 938 Math Focus: Number theory, computational mathematics, combinatorics, FOM, symbolic logic, TCS, algorithms 
Mostly a Platonist. Mathematics exists entirely independently of the human mind and is logically prior to it. I do have traces for formalism, though  humans *do* have some measure of control as to which systems to study. What I've heard is that most mathematicians are Platonists until a philosopher comes around, and then they pretend to be a formalist until they go away. "Oh no, just playing games with symbols here. No special significance here." I'm very interested in the aesthetics of mathematics. 
May 25th, 2014, 10:34 AM  #5 
Math Team Joined: May 2013 From: The Astral plane Posts: 2,150 Thanks: 875 Math Focus: Wibbly wobbly timeywimey stuff. 
I'm a Physicist. Mathematicians are my slaves. As a theorist (edging on being a Mathematical Physicist) I generally consider Math to be like Physics: a field that is fully formed from the beginning and we are exploring it to find out what's there and how it works. Dan 
May 25th, 2014, 11:19 AM  #6  
Senior Member Joined: Apr 2014 From: zagreb, croatia Posts: 234 Thanks: 33 Math Focus: philosophy/found of math, metamath, logic, set/category/order/number theory, algebra, topology  Quote:
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May 25th, 2014, 04:13 PM  #7 
Senior Member Joined: Jul 2013 From: United Kingdom Posts: 471 Thanks: 40 
I'd have to be a skepticist. I'm happy with the scientific method. Keeps my feet on the ground.

May 25th, 2014, 06:27 PM  #8 
Math Team Joined: Dec 2013 From: Colombia Posts: 7,649 Thanks: 2630 Math Focus: Mainly analysis and algebra 
I would say that maths exists but that the maths we know represents a model of maths as it exists. It differs from a model in science in that, even when we simplify things by making assumptions we are exactly describing some area of maths. But the model is incomplete. Research in maths is mostly driven by the requirements of scientific (or at least, practical) endeavour and so at birth, mathematical theorems do have some sort of meaning, but they quickly transcend that meaning when the results become useful in other areas of maths. I don't think that formalism and Platonism are mutually exclusive. The entire body of maths might exist independently of humans without it meaning anything at all. I'm an agnostic with atheistic leanings, or on other days, an atheist who is aware that he could be wrong. Not that it would make much difference if I were. Even if we assume that (a) God(s) exist, I see little reason why they should be worshipped. Conversely, I find mathematics worthy of worship due to it's essential beauty. 
May 26th, 2014, 01:46 AM  #9  
Senior Member Joined: Apr 2014 From: zagreb, croatia Posts: 234 Thanks: 33 Math Focus: philosophy/found of math, metamath, logic, set/category/order/number theory, algebra, topology  Quote:
I wouldn't use the word worship in my case. My faith in Jesus is what gives me hope that good will eventually prevail over evil.  

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