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Discovered Invention: Mathematics

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Discovered Invention: Mathematics

Aliber Jhon F. Ladrillo BS ChE 1

“How is it possible that mathematics, a product of human thought that is independent of experience fits so excellently to objects of reality?”

Albert Einstein, an outstanding physicist and one of the pillars of modern physics, quoted exactly these words. It really depicted the fascination of everyone on how powerful the beauty of Mathematics that is profoundly proficient at delineating the world around us. It is the idiom physicists exploit to craft theories about our universe, neurologist harness to prototype our brain, and economists apply to visualize the stock market. And this naturally leads us to ask the question why mathematics is so realistically true at describing our universe that we live on – a cliched question that has been asked for “nth” period of time.

For centuries now, humanity, could be it virtuosos or prosaic minds, have been in the profound conflict of answering the ever-mind-boggling question of the universe: is really Mathematics discovered or invented? Many arguments have been proposed but no one can ever define the slightest consistent answers. Pythagoreans of ancient Greece believed that numbers were once living entities and that they are universal principles. Plato would said that mathematical concepts were concrete and is as real as the universe itself. While Euclid, thought of nature being the physical manifestation of the mathematical laws.

These contradicted some who argued that regardless of numbers existing physically or invented, the fact cannot be avoided that mathematical statements revolving these numbers did not exist until the truth values for these statements can be derived from the rules being set by humans itself. They then assumed Mathematics is an invented logical expression or exercise that has no existence outside human’s conscious thoughts. They are just languages of abstract concepts and relationships based on patterns that is discerned by human brains through learning those concepts. Leopold Kronecker, a German mathematician supported these claims when he said that natural numbers were created by God, all else were just product of human intelligence.

Beyond all these claims and standpoints lies the undeniable facts of reality. Is it possible for us to count or measure things if we did not invented numbers and standard units? Would mathematical truths existed if we haven’t constructed rules and taught them to others?

But I ought to believe that both can be applied together. This is because Mathematics being discovered and Mathematics being invented is convolutedly a combination, for defined concepts perfectly fits the natural phenomena. Hypothetically speaking, I also think that humans invented variety of mathematical notions – such as numbers, polygons, sets, axioms, and so on—by conceptualizing them from the world around them. Then they drive on to discover the intricate connections and relationships among the concepts that they had invented; and these are the what we know the so-called theorems of mathematics. Humans invented the language of Mathematics, in which we can be able to represent the human discoveries of the properties of universe.

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