mathematical realism vs. anti realism

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Magritte
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mathematical realism vs. anti realism

Post by Magritte » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:27 pm

http://youtu.be/TbNymweHW4E

fast paced, skims the surface, but a good jumping off point for discussion maybe.
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Re: mathematical realism vs. anti realism

Post by Metacrock » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:46 pm

Magritte wrote:http://youtu.be/TbNymweHW4E

fast paced, skims the surface, but a good jumping off point for discussion maybe.
this is a perennials question. One of those that you can never really answer but I've wondered about it all my life. I think it's the basis for a lot of idealism and Platonism among those who go in for such things.

I really don't know. I tend to think not, but I'll argue for it just for grins.

my first argument, math not only works too well when we use it, but it works naturally so we don't even need to use it. what I mean is the way you play bumper pool there's a mathematical equation that tells you when you will get the shot in. It always works. Like the earth's orbit, all this order and regularity can be traced out in mathematical terms. it all works. if we just made it up it wouldn't work for so much.

http://www.jimloy.com/billiard/kick.htm
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Re: mathematical realism vs. anti realism

Post by Metacrock » Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:59 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLffxwRlXcc

second argument: Disney's wonderful world of color, adventures in mathemagic land.

I remember this from when I was a little kid, maybe first grade. It illustrates a bunch of stuff that can be used for this argument, including the pool thing. But you have to watch the whole thing because about half of it is other stuff pertianing to Dinesy and Micky Mouse and Donald Duck and so on.

Two arguments here. One is the relationship found in nature bewteen shapes and geometric forms. the other is the pool thing, how we don't have to invent math around pool. all the stuff we use math for works. it's just there.

I guess that not only dates my age but also the level at which I stopped learning math. I love that little show not only becuase I remember seeing it with my parents but just becuase it's a part of tv history.
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Re: mathematical realism vs. anti realism

Post by Magritte » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:33 am

Yeah, I tend to side with realism here, donald duck or not. Haven't seen that cartoon, will have to watch it with the kid soon!

On the matter of whether or not the world conforms to our formulas though - that appears to summon the spectre of the problem of induction.

And our formulas seem to be approximations, albeit more useful as we refine them. Einstein refined Newton and is in turn being revised by Weinstein if the science journalists are to be believed. So we can't very well say that the world obeys our mathematical models, which change as time goes on. The universe isn't dancing to Newton.
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Re: mathematical realism vs. anti realism

Post by Metacrock » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:35 am

Magritte wrote:Yeah, I tend to side with realism here, donald duck or not. Haven't seen that cartoon, will have to watch it with the kid soon!

On the matter of whether or not the world conforms to our formulas though - that appears to summon the spectre of the problem of induction.

And our formulas seem to be approximations, albeit more useful as we refine them. Einstein refined Newton and is in turn being revised by Weinstein if the science journalists are to be believed. So we can't very well say that the world obeys our mathematical models, which change as time goes on. The universe isn't dancing to Newton.
it's odd but that little cartoon I think makes the case for it better than anything. I think it's because it's so visual. when it shows the star shape all over the world of plants you see the star in the flower it really is a powerful subtle argument.
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