FOM: What is mathematics?

Ayan Mahalanobis amah8857 at
Sat Feb 16 13:37:56 EST 2002

Isn't this becoming as general as to all men are human being. There are
quite a few brand of mathematics, Brouwerian Intuitionism grew out of
some dissatisfaction with classical mathematics and proved theorem which
are false in classical mathematics and you think there can be no debate
and both of them are doing the same job.

Insall wrote:
> Miguel Lerma wrote:  ``Proofs may be an important part of mathematical
> activity but not essential in defining mathematics.''
> I submit that mathematics needs no definition.  Mathematics just is.  In any
> given situation, a mathematician, or other professional, may desire, or
> need, to adjudicate in a matter about whether a particular activity is
> mathematical in nature.  In these cases, the judgement need not be held up
> to so much scrutiny that it becomes a ``law''.  It may, however, be
> reasonably cited as a ``precedent''.  In any case, however, I do not mean to
> suggest that the discussion about ``What is mathematics?'' is somehow
> unworthy of pursuit.  It can be quite enlightening and/or entertaining to
> see what is on some particular person's list of ``mathematical'' items, and
> what is on that person's list of items that they deem to be definitely
> ``nonmathematical''.
> Matt Insall

More information about the FOM mailing list