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'On certainty' of mathematics

  1. Mathematics is our link to the platonic realm of physics (i.e. truth)

  2. Mathematics is merely a language to describe the phenomena

  3. A doubt without an end is not even a doubt

  1. Mar 28, 2010 #1
    I was just wondering what would be the general view concerning this topic. I think the poll is self explanatory, but what I am basically asking is Can fundamental physics be gleaned from promising mathematics? in other words, is Mathematics for you just a language which we use to describe the phenomena? or is it rather a language that has always existed wherein the truth can be achieved by its applications?

    If you could also provide your opinion by supplementing a post on your view, would be great.

    Note: the third option is for those who 'don't know and don't care' who may also think that asking such an existential question will lead us nowhere and hence it's pointless, which is obviously respectable as well.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 28, 2010 #2
    Mathematics is indeed a wonderful tool to describe the world around us. And it works as a language in which we can successfully render physics. However I like to think that mathematics is universal; the way in which we communicate does not alter what we are attempting to discover.
    Just my opinion anyways....
  4. Mar 28, 2010 #3


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    Best description of maths I've seen is that it's the science of pattern. Exact models generate exact patterns. Then these can be measured for their fit against natural patterns.

    The models can be "true" (crisply self-consistent in terms of their axioms) but their axioms are choices and so leave room for doubt. So maths is constructed, even if we feel it may have been constructed robustly and well.
  5. Mar 29, 2010 #4
    Yeah, indeed they leave room for doubt, Gödel himself wrote the incompleteness theorem. But I don't think that would matter much to Physics, when we think of how Physics is proven mathematically, we also see that it is just an approximation to the phenomenon. Like for instance, Newton's laws: could we say that they are disproved by relativity, since SR gives a more exact model to reality? Or is it also alright to say they work in that and that situations, while we don't have a complete theory to embrace all situations?
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