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Is Mathematics Discovered Or Invented?

elocutio I agree completely. (798 comments)

To me, the argument has nothing at all to do with metaphysics; it's about knowledge, and the semantics of the argument are weak and kind of obvious. The "internalism versus externalism" debate from centuries of epistemological thought is probably wiser (as in wisdom of crowds) than a faddish notion posed by contemporary Euro-math-geek-elites.

I can accept the semantic difference between principles and observations, and I really don't understand why some people can't. This argument belongs to the same family of paradoxes like "proof of Divine existence," or "whether information can be destroyed." Arguing about the root of knowledge is like shouting to make the wind stop. It might be fun for some, but it just doesn't make sense.

I don't understand why it's hard to accept that certain points of knowledge are a priori factual, and others need to be supported by other facts. However, I can understand why some people could be anxious to discover (or invent) an ideological foothold that would allow for the irrelevancy of absolutes. To me, the "discovered or invented" argument resembles reconstructionist attempts to Inject connotations where none previously existed. The arrogance with which these reconstructionists would dispute their own contradictions makes me completely nauseous.

more than 6 years ago


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