Mathematical Relationships are Reality Itself

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Spellbound, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Mathematical relationships are reality itself otherwise conscious beings including consciousness itself would be not only inexplicable but impossible as well. Through the function of time, the universe refines itself and evolves so that the life it contains could apprehend and make sense of it.

    Consider a simple mathematical question; If the radius of a circular garden plot is increased by 25 %, by what percentage does the area increase by? The answer is 56%. Reality is increased by 56%.
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  3. someguy1 Registered Senior Member

    This leads to a big philosophical discussion but I will just say that I do not believe the universe "is" mathematics.

    What's interesting to me is that it's finally in the 20th century that mathematicians turned their tools toward the study of mathematics itself; and what they discovered was the limits of rationality; or at the very least, the limits of systems based on axioms.

    Simultaneously, 20th century physics discovered how truly strange the universe is; and that we are very far from understanding it. Modern physics has been stuck and puzzled for two or three decades now

    I'd think some humbleness would be appropriate from the, let's call them physicalists. Everything is quantum foam, everything is mathematics, everything is rational process. The italicized part is the implied philosophical underpinning.

    I say, not so fast! Who says rationality is sufficient to understand the universe? I have deep reservations.
    exchemist likes this.
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    So the universe has a purpose and is heading towards a goal?

    What do you mean by "Reality is increased by 56%"?
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  7. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member


    \(\left( 1 + \frac{1}{4} \right)^2 = \left( \frac{5}{4} \right)^2 = \frac{25}{16} = 1 + \frac{9}{16} \\ 1.25^2 = 1.5625\)
  8. danshawen Valued Senior Member

    Planets orbited the stars long before the engines of our cognition were conceived.

    Mathematics will always be incomplete, and this is what assures things like calculating pi to the last digit is a waste of finite cognition. Reality, on the other hand, was evidently complete long before it unfolded and did not require numbers or ciphers of any kind in order to manifest perfectly the first time. Evidence is stacked much higher against your premise.

    There will always be more reality than mathematics to cognate, encode and analyze it. The best we can hope for is that this will not dissuade us from the attempt.
  9. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Because consciousness requires consistency to develop. And sensibility to understand things.

    Absolutely. Every sentient life form has a purpose. A seed's purpose is to become a plant.

    The circle is reality itself.
  10. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Without mathematics the universe could not operate let alone be made sense of. Mathematics governs reality.
  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Agree, in part at least. What some people forget is that what science does is model reality. History has taught us repeatedly the foolishness of believing that any given model actually corresponds 100% to reality. Mathematics has proved a very powerful tool to model aspects of reality, and in daily use we quite reasonably discuss the working of elements of our models in their own terms, i.e. in terms of a self-contained world in which they ARE the truth. But at some level we always need to be aware of the limitations of models.

    So I see statements such as "reality is mathematics" as a new form of mysticism and not helpfu.
  12. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I think this is putting the cart before the horse, actually. Without mathematics we could not make sense of the universe, certainly.

    But it seems to me a tad presumptuous to claim that the universe "could not operate" without something that is a system of quantitative logic invented by man.

    (See my previous post about models in science for my perspective on this.)
  13. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Consistency of what?

    Isn't that just saying that consciousness requires ... consciousness?

    Hmm... not sure about that. According to the self-gene view, a seed is just a container for some genes, and the plant is just something that the genes build in order to make more genes. This isn't a conscious process. It's kind of an automatic chemical process.

    Maybe reality governs mathematics. What do you think?
  14. danshawen Valued Senior Member

    If mathematics really governed reality, then Godel's incompleteness theorem would have failed mathematical proof. It isn't just about the liar's paradox, you know.

    Math itself proves that math is incomplete. Reality has no such issues. If you believe that math is more complete than reality, then you either don't know enough math, or (more likely) have misapplied the math you think you know to arrive at that mistaken conclusion.

    Please frame any comments to this post in the form of a formal mathematical proof.
  15. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Similar to his other gems, such as "Reality is real".
    You'll have to wait for him to look up what Langan thinks, as that's what he regurgitates.
  16. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Consistency in the laws of Physics and Mathematics. Since consciousness is Physics and mathematics, it could not exist without it. Over the course of evolution, our cerebral cortex expanded and our intellects increased due to the consistency of the laws of Physics and Mathematics.

    By sensibility I am referring to the sensibility of reality. The mathematics of reality.

    Think of yourself as the seed. You are neither separated from the earth nor the whole universe. Therefore you wish to complete your role for the greater good. For something beyond yourself.

    Indeed. Reality is mathematics and vice versa. The equations exist because interactions exists. Newton's laws exist. Force exists. Velocity vectors exist.
  17. danshawen Valued Senior Member

    Taking a page from krash662's playbook now:

    Words exist. Words describing terribly offensive odors exist. Hmmm… I don't smell anything. Must not be real.
  18. Liebling Doesn't Need to be Spoonfed. Valued Senior Member


    I think you have a general misunderstanding. Mathematics are a human construct used to quantify, measure and understand phenomena so that we can predict probability and turn theory into fact. Like time, they are needed for the human brain to understand it's own existence and that of the world around it. Time is a construct needed more for mathematics than for any human biological function. Depending on where you live, the sun will still rise in the morning and set in the evening, just as the planet would revolve around the sun. It would make no difference if there were 12 hours in each day and they were all 120 minutes instead of 60. The time construct is only the measure of the distance it takes for the earth to rotate around to the nearly the same spot facing the sun plus or minus a degree or so based on the season. We simply measure this so that we, as humans can understand it. Animals understand time as when the sun rises and when it sets, it's still the same time regardless of the number we assign to it.

    Are you saying that the only universal truth is mathematics? I just want to understand what you are getting at. I would argue that again, one persons perspective might differ from another. People have many different ways of solving the same problem even using completely different maths to arrive at the answer.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  19. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    This is now woo - mystical gibberish. For example, "consciousness is physics" is a silly statement, with no useful meaning.

    And, "force exists" is easily demonstrated to be a shallow remark by comparing the Newtonian model of gravity with General Relativity. In the former, you have forces acting between masses. In the other you have no forces any more but bodies following geodesics. So which is right? Is one "real" and the other not? Which?

    However if, as I have already pointed out, you recognise that both are models of reality, rather than either claiming to be reality, there is no difficulty. One simply sees the former as a simplification of the latter and chooses the model appropriate to the task at hand.

    That is what science does. Forget the mystical mumbo-jumbo.
  20. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Consciousness being real, requires Physics to exist. Otherwise you would be left with nothing.

    I'm not sure if anyone has reached a conclusion on that.

    What you are essentially saying is that we arrive at formulas and equations not by observing reality, but by imagining it, which is wrong. Everything in reality has a relationship or equation that describes its mechanics.
  21. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I think that mathematical relationships do have reality of some kind, though nobody as yet has been able to explain precisely what it is. (Plato and his followers made the most famous attempt.) But having said that, I think that there's more to reality than mathematics. Mathematics is part of the picture, but not all of it.
  22. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I'm inclined to consider myself a physicalist.

    That being said, I think that humbleness is very appropriate in at least two different ways.

    First, I'm not even close to having satisfactory answers to many questions about this physical universe. (And I'm rather skeptical about the more speculative assertions by theoretical physicists about what the answers might be.) To me, inquiry is kind of like peering into a thick fog with a weak flashlight. We can see a little ways, but we can't speak with total assurance about the unknown things might still exist out there. (The unknown is an unbounded set, simply by definition.) I'm a physicalist because the only reality I know is this physical universe, but having said that, I think that this physical universe remains profoundly mysterious.

    And second, even though this physical universe is the only universe that I know (and seemingly the only one that I can know), I can't rule out with absolute certainty the possibility that other kinds of being or reality exist in addition to it.

    So do I.

    A cockroach lives its life very effectively, despite being totally unable to understand, or even suspect the existence of, Schrodinger's equation. Cockroaches simply lack the cognitive equipment to understand everything that we think is important in comprehending reality.

    So who's to say that we humans occupy the pinnacle of all possible cognition? Perhaps there are superior space-aliens out there who stand in the same relation to us that we stand to the cockroach, aliens that can imagine and comprehend aspects of reality that will forever be beyond the grasp of mere humans like ourselves.
  23. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Well sure, consciousness requires physics to exist. But it does not follow from that that consciousness "is" physics. You could equally say that a squirrel "is" physics. Or Mt Everest "is" physics. What is the meaning of such a statement?

    Clearly there is a lot more to both a squirrel and to Mt Everest than mere physics. Physics in fact is a fairly unhelpful discipline for understanding either. Same goes for consciousness.

    And no, I am certainly not saying we arrive at formulae and equations by imagining reality instead of by observing it. We observe, we then make a hypothesis (yes, using our imagination), and then we set out to test the hypothesis by mean of further observation. That is how the scientific method proceeds.

    Nobody with a science degree can fail to be aware that we use a variety of different models for the same thing, depending on what we are trying to do. And nobody who has read anything of the history of science can fail to appreciate the progression in models that has taken place over the last 300 years or so. There is no reason to suppose this progression has now stopped. If it had, nobody would still be doing science. So clearly our models are still incomplete.

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