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Wowee 22
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#1
04-18-2010
Default Is observation mathematical?

Generally, I've always considered mathematics to provide the only truth when dealing with proving something. But, is observation considered math?

"i've got two tickets to see Reptar on Ice," said Man A.
"That's impossible. Those sold out within MINUTES. I don't believe you," replied one skeptical Man B.
"You don't have to believe me, but I hope you believe your own eyes..." said Man A, producing two tickets to Reptar on Ice.
"I guess you just proved me wrong, Man A. Without math!"

That sounds rather ridiculous, but I don't know how to respond to that.


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#2
04-18-2010
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what

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davobrosia
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#3
04-18-2010
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No. Mathematics doesn't prove "truth" either, unless you're a neoplatonist, which is untenable but, sadly, still very widespread.
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Wowee 22
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#4
04-18-2010
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Disregard the "truth," then. Yes, I've agreed that observation isn't necessarily mathematical, but then why is it widely considered that only mathematics can provide proof? Is this not true?


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davobrosia
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#5
04-18-2010
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Do numbers exist outside of mathematics? If so, then there goes the distinction you're trying to draw between mathematics and empiricism. I don't think they do, and if you know what's what, you don't either. So what is truth?
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why is it widely considered that only mathematics can provide proof? Is this not true?
Well, you're wrong. Some logics have a stronger claim to proof than mathematics, and even then it's only the most tenuous and useless form. Tautologies are true, sure, I guess, but are they useful? And are they true outside of the framework in which they reside?

If you can provide a synthetic a priori statement, please speak up.
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Wowee 22
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#6
04-18-2010
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I can provide no such statement. My point was to see why many people on this forum (apparently not you nor the logicists you mention) claim that using math is the only way something can be proven. I confess I've blindly accepted this notion, but always thought empiricism or - to specifically relate to the title - observation is simpler than a mathematical proof. Also, is logic not a form of mathematics anyway?


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davobrosia
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#7
04-18-2010
Default

Well, you've got it backwards.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peano_axioms
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zermelo-Frankel_set_theory
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McDevy
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#8
04-18-2010
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Who's saying these things?

Logic works very much like mathematics; but what you did was present a logical argument, whether it's math or not (I don't understand how you correlated math to that in the first place) is irrelevant.

Also, the ticket is something you and I perceive. Our senses are not ultimately reliable or definitive and rather a lense (I'm not making an argument against you, just that yours was a bad one.)

This conversation could get interesting if it went in the direct in the form of truth and what is deemed proof, etc.
EyesOfTheDead
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#9
05-09-2010
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The logical flow necessary to solve a math problem requires a series of true statements built onto one another. It's irrefutable to say that postive is the opposite of negative, that 1 = 1, that derivatives and integrals are inverses of one another. It can, however, be disputed that those tickets in your example are really tickets to see Reptar on ice. Say you scalped the tickets; how does the skeptic know (or how do you know for that matter) that you weren't fooled into buying counterfeit tickets? Empirical evidence should be the last thing we depend on and I hope you understand that. And I wouldn't necessariy say that math and logic are the same. Logic is reliable inference (it's one definition anyway), math therefore requires logic, but logic does not require math.
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#10
05-09-2010
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