Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Topic: all of math is just addition and multiplication
Replies: 36   Last Post: Jun 17, 2013 6:04 PM

 Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
 GS Chandy Posts: 7,942 From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India Registered: 9/29/05
Re: all of math is just addition and multiplication
Posted: Jun 8, 2013 2:14 AM

To help carry Mr Sauter's 'true' proposition to its logical (but absurd) conclusion, here are a few other such propositions:

i) All of math (including, say, Ramanujam's amazing insights; Fermat's theorem; Andrew Wiles's solution of Fermat) - all of it is just about the number '1', '0' and addition.

ii) The above does not seem to explain Einstein's insights that led to the Theory of Relativity (but the required math is all there, I believe).

iii) Usain Bolt's quite astonishing feats in 'sprinting' are nothing but the developed ('overdeveloped'?) activity of a child learning to walk.

.... and so on and so forth.

We can probably develop an infinite number of such absurd (but 'true) propositions - including probably, the concept of 'infinity' as well. It is however, unlikely that we shall come to understand 'infinity' in any usable way thereby - likewise Mr Sauter's proposition about 'math' is unlikely to teach us much about math: we shall never arrive at an understanding of math thereby (except to wonder at the astonishing 'fertility' of human thought processes which, in the conventional way, we do not adequately appreciate. Well that sense of wonder is, I believe, a quite useful characteristic.

I've not yet read the links provided by Joe Niederberger (at http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=9131666) and I've not adequately 'integrated' Kirby Urner's discussion (at http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=9131165) of Roger Penrose's proposition to the effect that "humans are sometimes a source of intelligence which no computational theory or practice currently has a way to explain much less duplicate" - i.e. (very crudely) human thinking is fundamentally 'different' from computation and computational processes. I observe that I'm in agreement with the proposition.

I believe that we can develop a significantly better (i.e. more effective and 'usable'} understanding of human thought processes, including the processes that lead to the 'miracles of math', through better understanding of 'systems' (and ONLY through such understanding via systems will we achieve that effective understanding. Some information about practical tools to help enable a working understanding of systems is available at the attachments to my post heading the thread "Democracy: how to achieve it" (http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7934528).

It turns out, remarkably enough, that a usable understanding of 'systems' develops from the development of a usable understanding of the transitive relationship "CONTRIBUTES TO" (and its 'negative', "HINDERS").

(There is much else to discuss on the issues raised above - but I'm rather worried about my Internet connection, therefore shall conclude).

GSC

Message was edited by: GS Chandy

Date Subject Author
6/3/13 Donald Sauter
6/4/13 Dave L. Renfro
6/5/13 Robert Hansen
6/4/13 kirby urner
6/5/13 Joe Niederberger
6/5/13 Joe Niederberger
6/6/13 Michael de Villiers
6/6/13 Joe Niederberger
6/6/13 kirby urner
6/7/13 Joe Niederberger
6/7/13 Joe Niederberger
6/7/13 Louis Talman
6/8/13 Robert Hansen
6/7/13 Joe Niederberger
6/8/13 Joe Niederberger
6/8/13 GS Chandy
6/8/13 GS Chandy
6/8/13 GS Chandy
6/8/13 Joe Niederberger
6/8/13 GS Chandy
6/9/13 Joe Niederberger
6/14/13 kirby urner
6/9/13 Joe Niederberger
6/10/13 GS Chandy
6/10/13 Joe Niederberger
6/11/13 GS Chandy
6/11/13 Joe Niederberger
6/11/13 Robert Hansen
6/12/13 GS Chandy
6/12/13 GS Chandy
6/12/13 Robert Hansen
6/12/13 Joe Niederberger
6/13/13 GS Chandy
6/13/13 Joe Niederberger
6/13/13 GS Chandy
6/17/13 Donald Sauter
6/17/13 Donald Sauter