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Other Mathematics in Metaphysics

  1. Nov 2, 2016 #1
    Metaphysics is a strong interest of mine, as is Philosophy in general. I also enjoy Math, and more importantly, I recognize some mathematical concepts are needed for Metaphysics. A simple example is the concept of infinity (what it is).

    I'm asking, are there any courses, or even books on Mathematics I should look into for the sake of Metaphysics? Or even ones I might find of interest (as a Philosophy student)?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 2, 2016 #2

    Student100

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    What is metaphysics?
     
  4. Nov 2, 2016 #3

    fresh_42

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    Books on logic and / or set theory come to mind. And Popper and Wittgenstein on the philosophers' side.
     
  5. Nov 2, 2016 #4
    Literally "before physics"; the study of the fundamental things of the Universe. Not a perfect definition, but it's okay...

    Some common themes of Metaphysics are "is there a God?", "is life deterministic?", and "what is?"
     
  6. Nov 2, 2016 #5

    fresh_42

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    Not quite sure whether it can be said in this way. It's rather an "after", than a "before".
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=metaphysics
    Also the Wikipedia definitions and descriptions in English and in my language are not one-to-one.

    I like to see it as: Physics is about the real world's constituencies. Metaphysics is about the nature of physics, i.e. about it's methods and models. One can add prefixes of meta- to indicate the next level, which is discussing the former.

    To add an important hint here: We do not discuss philosophy on PF. So this thread is very much on the edge and might get closed by the administrators.
     
  7. Nov 2, 2016 #6
    My bad... I always thought it was before (as in, metaphysics comes before physics; it is the basis of physics, not vice versa).

    And sorry about that, I was thinking it was more a topic about Math, but I understand.
     
  8. Nov 2, 2016 #7

    fresh_42

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    I guess there isn't really one unique definition and assume that different authors use it slightly differently.
    Yes, it can be. As I said, e.g. in set theory and logic. Goedel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gödel's_incompleteness_theorems) and Russell (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell's_paradox) count as mathematicians. It is a thin line here between them. And it's not that mathematicians or physicists weren't interested in philosophy or wouldn't discuss it. Most of them are Platonists. It's more that internet debates on philosophical questions usually lead to nowhere and can go on forever without any significant gain. That's all. I've read discussions like "Is zero real" or similar here, which I thought would have been immediately closed. I simply wanted to say it, in order to stay on the safe side.
     
  9. Nov 2, 2016 #8

    Mark44

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    As fresh_42 said,
     
  10. Nov 3, 2016 #9
  11. Nov 3, 2016 #10

    Student100

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  12. Nov 3, 2016 #11

    PeroK

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    I thought Descartes already proved there was a God?
     
  13. Nov 3, 2016 #12

    fresh_42

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    I like Hardy's version:
     
  14. Nov 3, 2016 #13

    PeroK

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    Although, I'm sure it's not beyond God's power to disrupt the postal service and make a card go missing. He does that all the time, as far as I can judge.
     
  15. Nov 3, 2016 #14
    Supposedly, but it's often not regarded as a proof. Even at the time of publishment, Antoine Arnauld criticized Descartes for his circular reasoning in God and the truth rule.
     
  16. Nov 3, 2016 #15
    Damn, we are getting off topic...
     
  17. Nov 3, 2016 #16

    fresh_42

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    This list of "proofs" reads like a who-is-who in philosophy.
     
  18. Nov 3, 2016 #17

    PeroK

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    This exemplifies the difference between physics and metaphysics. Any physical theory or postulate can be tested and - agreeing with experimental results is a key test. Arguing whether God exists may be useful in its own way, but unless and until he/she reveals him/herself, there's never going to be an answer.

    I might argue that man cannot be made in God's image, because why wouild God need eyes, ears, ribs, a heart, liver and kidneys etc.? But, unless I can medically examine God, there's no way to tell whether he/she has kidneys or not. All I can say is that it seems unlikely to me! But, there is no definite way to resolve that question. A believer would have an answer, no doubt. Possibly simply redefine what is meant by "in God's image", and then you're back to square one.
     
  19. Nov 3, 2016 #18

    berkeman

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    Done. Lordy.
     
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