Is math discovered or invented?

Is math discovered or invented? In the past, I take math for granted and never thought of its origin. One side of the arguments says that math comes from the nature. It is all around us. An example would be the Fibonacci sequence, as plants seem to grow in a pattern that resembles the Fibonacci sequence. I wonder,  If math is discovered, then who has emplaced them in the first place? Is there a thing such as a higher being?

Yet, the other side other arguments, is that math is invented; math is just like an “intellectual game”. It is possible that people invent rules to fit real life situations. Moreover, some of the math, like abstract math, can be beyond our tangible world. Since it is so intangible, how true could it be?  Could it be that we are just modelling what we see and modelling the universe with math? Is it possible that we have just invented all the math? Is math made of a whole lot of theories?

However, something to be sure of is that it is a way for us to view the world. Yes, there are arguments that math can explain everything in the world. It is possible. But again, it is just one of the ways to perceive the world we live in. Angel has mentioned a story of the three blind men and an elephant in her post. If we only use math to explain the world, then aren’t we similar to the three blind men?

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1 comment to Is math discovered or invented?

  • Jennifer

    I feel like we are trying to impose mathematics onto the nature. Of course, the link between the nature and mathematics such as the Fibonacci sequence and Golden ratio is amazing. But there are exceptions such as mutations. For example, even though the most prevalent clover is three-leaf clover, we can find four, five or even six leaf clovers. But was the most prevalent clover three-leaf in the past? Would four-leaf clover be the most prevalent one in the future? If the examples in nature that corroborates the mathematical notions are altered in the future, would those notions be applicable or even ‘true’ anymore?

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