Examines the concept of mathematical truth and whether it really exists.
This paper discusses the question of mathematical truth in an attempt to decide whether there can be such a thing as an “absolute fact.” The paper takes the very simple example of the concept of counting and considers how fundamental this process is to science and philosophy. The paper then argues that we, as human beings, are subject to our biological makeup and our vision of the world is clouded by our resulting limitations. The paper concludes that therefore, we cannot accept three-dimensional Euclidean space as an established, absolute fact, nor can we accept our linear understanding of time of a universal reality.
“Let us begin our examination by taking the very simple example of the concept of counting. How fundamental is this process to science and philosophy? In the book Computing God, Robert J. Sawyer demonstrates that it is possible to conceive of other beings who are incapable of counting things. Since the Wreeds evolved in a setting where there were no “real-world, survival-oriented advantages to knowing how to determine quantities greater than five or six” (hand-out 3), the Wreeds did not develop the ability to determine these quantities. Is this a mere flight of fancy on the author’s part and does it bear consideration for the contemporary scientist? Indeed, the Wreeds do not exist in reality. However, the connection the author makes between evolutionary necessities and one’s concept of the world is a crucial point within the context of our discussion.”