## Why do numbers exist?

What is the basis for reason? And mathematics?

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qsa
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Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:19 am

### Why do numbers exist?

Sorry if this is an old beaten up topic.
Breath
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:49 am
Location: In my skin

### Re: Why do numbers exist?

Sorry if this is an old beaten up topic.
For starters, it is silly to say that numbers exist. It is really poor use of language.

Numbers are abstractions from the acts of measuring and counting.

Measuring and counting do not exist either. They occur, but only while occuring.

Abstractions don't exist either. They occur, while abstraction is occuring

Breath
HexHammer
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Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 8:19 pm
Location: Denmark

### Re: Why do numbers exist?

Numbers occured out of practicallity, most likely due to trade.

I have no favorite philosophy, only logical thinking. Most people can't do logical tihnking, only partially filled with emotional nonsense.
Therefore people will dwell in inrrelevant matters.
jackles
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### Re: Why do numbers exist?

Numbers exist because ya brain exist otherwise they would not exist.
Blaggard
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Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:17 pm

### Re: Why do numbers exist?

Numbers exist because concepts do we need a means to explain something that may not exist but is real if applied, a contingent way of applying what we see to what is. So the number 4 is purely a concept, 4 apples is real.

Such abstractions are a function of human learning and language. Numbers do not "exist" per se, but they are useful.
qsa
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:19 am

### Re: Why do numbers exist?

Breath wrote:

Sorry if this is an old beaten up topic.
For starters, it is silly to say that numbers exist. It is really poor use of language.

Numbers are abstractions from the acts of measuring and counting.

Measuring and counting do not exist either. They occur, but only while occuring.

Abstractions don't exist either. They occur, while abstraction is occuring

Breath
I am sure you have heard this argument before. Let's say you remove everything in the universe. would the concept of a circle go away, or the number 13 stops being a prime.
Breath wrote:Measuring and counting do not exist either. They occur, but only while occuring.

Abstractions don't exist either. They occur, while abstraction is occuring
Sounds like a grave contradiction. Once you or me is dead , did we exist or not?!
Posts: 321
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:57 am

### Re: Why do numbers exist?

Breath wrote:

Sorry if this is an old beaten up topic.
For starters, it is silly to say that numbers exist. It is really poor use of language.

Numbers are abstractions from the acts of measuring and counting.

Measuring and counting do not exist either. They occur, but only while occuring.

Abstractions don't exist either. They occur, while abstraction is occuring
Indeed.

Math is a construct based on the quantification of natural logic.

A more natural way to count would be first, second, third... because everything is unique. It's impossible to have three apples because everything is unique. There's no referent word the word "apple" as it is a construct to refer to the fruit of some specific types of trees. It is a short hand way of directing one's attention to the concept of the specxific fruit.
Blaggard
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Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:17 pm

### Re: Why do numbers exist?

Of course I have heard it before: is maths a discovery or an invention.

Without a human mind or any means to explore the maths of it, I think maths would not exist, it's an invention, some may beg to differ but that is my take on it.
Breath wrote:

Sorry if this is an old beaten up topic.
For starters, it is silly to say that numbers exist. It is really poor use of language.

Numbers are abstractions from the acts of measuring and counting.

Measuring and counting do not exist either. They occur, but only while occuring.

Abstractions don't exist either. They occur, while abstraction is occuring
Indeed.

Math is a construct based on the quantification of natural logic.

A more natural way to count would be first, second, third... because everything is unique. It's impossible to have three apples because everything is unique. There's no referent word the word "apple" as it is a construct to refer to the fruit of some specific types of trees. It is a short hand way of directing one's attention to the concept of the specxific fruit.
This is of course correct number theory says that the definition of any number is based on the set of numbers to which we can assign an axiom.

For example in number theory (0,O) is O only by stressing that 0 exists by the ZFT axioms of maths (at least conceptually) can you define any number yes. Concept or absolute reality, concept I think, but some think otherwise.

3 apples is not per se maths, that is an abstraction not the pure math.
Breath
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Location: In my skin

### Re: Why do numbers exist?

qsa wrote:
I am sure you have heard this argument before. Let's say you remove everything in the universe. would the concept of a circle go away, or the number 13 stops being a prime.
What you have written is not an argument at all. It is a question, and on the surface it looks like a very confused question.

You seem to have a view that a universe is something that has stuff in it, but that concepts do not fall into the category "stuff". Have I read that right? Is your question akin to asking whether there are concepts in an empty bucket?

Breath wrote:Measuring and counting do not exist either. They occur, but only while occuring.

Abstractions don't exist either. They occur, while abstraction is occuring.

Sounds like a grave contradiction. Once you or me is dead , did we exist or not?!
The you and me that you are referring to, what precisely does that consist of? Bodies? Or concepts about our essences? Or something else?

If you could clarify, then we can see if the comparing a you or a me with a number is useful to the discussion.

Breath
Posts: 321
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:57 am

### Re: Why do numbers exist?

Blaggard wrote:
3 apples is not per se maths, that is an abstraction not the pure math.
I think you're creating a distinction that doesn't exist. If Johnny has three apples and gives one to Alice, how many does he have left? Of course we agree that the question is really meaningless since one apple may be rotten and he might use the other apple to grow an apple orchard. But when mathematicians say "3 - 1 = 2" they believe that the equation can be filled in with any units at all. If you've driven one mile how much distance is left on a three mile trip? 1 = 3 - X is equivalent to 3m - 1m = 2m even though there may be no road or the bridge is out after one mile.

Math works because it is logical. It's not that reality conforms to math but that math conforms to reality. We mistake math for reality because reality affects experiment which is the basis of theory. It appears to us that reality conforms to math but it does not. There is never a one to one correspondance between math and reality but only between math and the models (paradigms) (constructs) we build to describe reality.
Hobbes' Choice
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### Re: Why do numbers exist?

Uggg and Boulou would argue over how many nuts they had.
The First evolution of Maths had to be invented..

When they wanted to divide them they figured out that there was such a thing a "A NUT" and "SOME NUTS".

Uggg understood that, but Boulou noticed one day that Uggg's had some nuts, that he couldn't carry in one hand, whereas Boulou could.

Pretty soon he worked out that Uggg had been cheating. He bashed his brains in. When Boulou had a kid, he taught him the simple trick. Each finger was worth a nut and pointing with that finger told you how much.

The second evolution of Maths had occurred. 1,2,3,4,5 and "MANY NUTS"
GreatandWiseTrixie
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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:51 pm

### Re: Why do numbers exist?

I've been thinking.

I mean, hypothetically, your mind could be in a phony matrix and puppet strings could make you believe 2+2=4 , when it really is 5, But I'd say absolutely 2+2=4 because even if I typed 2+2=4 and the internet made it look like I typed 2+2=5 and to you I said 2+2=5, it would still be 2+2=4.

In addition, your mind has other things buffered, all of your math knowledge hinges on 2+2=4, all of your life experience hinges on 2+2=4, all of your memories hinge on 2+2=4.

However, 2+2 does not always equal four, add 2 cups + 2 cups you get 1 girl.
Ginkgo
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Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:47 pm

### Re: Why do numbers exist?

Seriously, this matrix idea goes back a long way. All the way back to the 17th century and Descartes.

http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_demon
Blaggard
Posts: 2246
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:17 pm

### Re: Why do numbers exist?

Blaggard wrote:
3 apples is not per se maths, that is an abstraction not the pure math.
I think you're creating a distinction that doesn't exist. If Johnny has three apples and gives one to Alice, how many does he have left? Of course we agree that the question is really meaningless since one apple may be rotten and he might use the other apple to grow an apple orchard. But when mathematicians say "3 - 1 = 2" they believe that the equation can be filled in with any units at all. If you've driven one mile how much distance is left on a three mile trip? 1 = 3 - X is equivalent to 3m - 1m = 2m even though there may be no road or the bridge is out after one mile.

Math works because it is logical. It's not that reality conforms to math but that math conforms to reality. We mistake math for reality because reality affects experiment which is the basis of theory. It appears to us that reality conforms to math but it does not. There is never a one to one correspondance between math and reality but only between math and the models (paradigms) (constructs) we build to describe reality.
Well it would be very hard to answer this since it does not tackle any of the points I made, which were to clarify: are numbers intrinsically real or inventions and thus conceptual.

John has 2 apples, does john have 2 does 2 exist, or does he have 2 obviously provable existing apples?

I am pretty sure that the arbitrary axiomatic designations we call numbers do not exist outside of the purity of concept. I would argue hence that numbers are a human concept and that is all I would argue.
GreatandWiseTrixie
Posts: 1547
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:51 pm

### Re: Why do numbers exist?

Ginkgo wrote:Seriously, this matrix idea goes back a long way. All the way back to the 17th century and Descartes.

http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_demon
I may be an evil demon genius but I'm not in your head like that.