Mathematitus – the affliction of reasoning symbolically in a mathematical virtual world disconnected from physical reality.

Once disconnected from physical reality in the world of thought-experiments, peculiar conclusions may sometimes occur. Take the following list of equations:

C = 4L and D = 4L.

Algebraically C = D.

But if C = Cat and D = Dog, then C <> D (<> is “not equal”).

Which means that the nature of L has to be different for Cat and Dog since they cannot be identical.

But if you did not know that C was Cat and D was Dog, then it is quite permissable for C to equal D.

So as long as mathematics is directly linked to physical reality no problems in its use occur, (and then I am making a courageous assumption), but when it becomes disconnected, all sorts of weird outcomes become possible, and is thus a sympton of the affliction mathematitus a thoughter experiences (Thoughter being someone who revels in thought experiments, usually applying pen to paper or chalk to blackboard).

It also happens when the mind invents invisible things like ‘photons’, for example, and so are photons then metaphysical or physical?

Me, I don’t know.

About Louis Hissink

Retired diamond exploration geologist. I spent my professional life looking for mineral deposits, found some, and also located a number of kimberlites in NSW and Western Australia. Exploration geology is the closest one can get to practicing the scientific method, mineral exploration always being concerned with finding anomalous geophysical or geochemical data, framing a model and explanation for the anomaly and then testing it with drilling or excavation. All scientific theories are ultimately false since they invariably involved explaining something with incomplete extant knowledge. Since no one is omniscient or knows everything, so too scientific theories which are solely limited to existing knowledge. Because the future always yields new data, scientific theories must change to be compatible with the new data. Thus a true scientist is never in love with any particular theory, always knowing that when the facts change, so too must he/she change their minds.
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One Response to Mathematitus

  1. Pingback: What’s the Point? | Louis Hissink's Crazy World

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