"the queen" of all sciences

Why mathematics - not philosophy is regarded to be the first. You think mathematics is less philosophical?
i would like to see philosophy first cause in my opinion numbers are products of our imagination and they are as abstract as philosophy is.

philosophy is always up for debate; never 100% certain; methematics is when correct 100% certain.
You never heard people debating if 1+2=3.

You also never heard someone say ‘I don’t believe in God’ in the Vatican prior to 1756, so does that mean for 100% certain that God existed (at least in the Vatican) up until that point?

Maths is merely a set of symbols we relate in a way because we decide to relate them in that way, and they haven’t a thing to do with physical reality. Example - in maths, 1 banana plus 1 banana = 2 bananas. In reality, it depends on how you combine them - if you throw two bananas at each other with sufficient force then 1 banana plus 1 banana can equal no bananas, but mathematics lack the vocabulary to deal with this.

1 anything plus 1 anything equals 2 things.

smashing bananas and eating bananas and “counting” bananas are quite different actions.

‘Maths and number…they haven’t a thing to do with physical reality’

My friend in Michigan is studying the Philosophy of Mathematics : I’m sure he would tear this apart. Something about the number one not simply being a numerical abstraction but an actual object!

Hmmm…I’m not particularly good at maths but it is a great subject…the grand structure of the Universe!! Pi is a great film…I know you have seen it Tom. PATTERNS and NUMBER - o we could be hear all day! The Universe being a gaint computational machine (o no, surely that was just a movie…)

I heard that Pythagoras drowned one of his students when they discovered irrational numbers. Perhaps it’s just a myth…but a good one all the same. Damn those irrational numbers…

There are no perfect circles.

No, 1+1=2

Precisely, whereas 1+1 cannot distinguish between these actions and is therefore inapplicable as a description of them. Which is precisely my point.

You ever seen an object that was completely singular and distinct from all other objects? I haven’t. I’ve no reason to think that one exists, either.

Pi is a very interesting movie - but the protagonist ends up killing himself because he can’t reconcile maths with the world (among other reasons). I’m pretty sure that the movie is not trying to assert that the universe is a giant computational machine. I could be wrong - I’ve never read anything about the writer/director’s opinions on such issues.

you’re hopeless my dear… mathematics is absolute !

SIATD - I know very little about the philosophy of mathematics but if I can get my friend to give me and explanation of maths and physical reality I’ll post it hear. But as far I am know the basic tenet is that oneness exists physically not just abstractly.

Pi doesn’t suggest that the world is a large mathematical computation machine…but the fact that numbers and patterns can be found and created everywhere in nature leads me to aimlessly speculate that the universe is a large calculator.

Supposedly MATHS is independent of the human mind and the universe too. Well, so many of us like to think.

I must say; its he universal aplication of Pi that supports your “calculator theory” and you’re not wrong to suspect that;

I completely agree with Mathematics being first over Philosophy. There are a few reasons for this.

  1. Philosophy, done rigorously, is really no different from mathematics. Both fields essentially ask this question: “given a set of axioms X, what else can we conclude is true?” First-order logic is a rigorous branch of philosophy, and can be used to exactly encode Set Theory, which in turn is essentially all of mathematics (with a very few exceptions).

However, Philosophy is very rarely done well. Most Philosophers - professional philosophers - struggle over definitions without realizing it (e.g. debate over compatibilism vs. incompatibilism), and have dulled their intellectual instinct enough to not see obvious answeres in front of their faces. They support strange ideas (conceiving of intuition as something on which we can depend absolutely - every mathematician and scientist knows how laughable this is. Why doesn’t the philosopher?) and argue - literally - needlessly, at times.

Fundamentally, I don’t believe there is much of a distinction between philosophy and math. Practically, there’s all the difference in the world, and that difference is almost entirely philosophy being practiced poorly.

That’s one reason.

  1. Math is beautiful and elegant AND necessary for science, a method of acquiring knowledge which has improved the average human life greatly. (I was just talking with a friend the other day about our fridge - fridges are awesome! Cold drinks, unspoiled meat… imagine when they had ice boxes, or worse - nothing!) Math has proven itself over and over, and as a result, there is plenty of grant money for math. Graduate students in math almost exclusively are paid to study math, rather than having to pay their own tuition. Philosophy, on the other hand, accomplishes almost nothing externally. Sure, it’s aesthetic (when you come across the rare high-quality argument), and definitely very interesting - but very rarely has (modern) philosophy improved anyone’s life who wasn’t studying it.

Of course all science was philosophy at some point in the past, but that’s why I specified “modern” philosophy. An interesting fact about philosophy is that, originally, all knowledge and fields of study were philosophy. Then, whenever a particular field of study became especially fruitful and useful, it would branch off, attract specialists, and become split from philosophy. As a result, what we call modern philosophy is basically the dregs - the stuff that is not useful. Well, that isn’t too surprising - pondering free will never helped anyone live longer or regrow that missing limb - and of course it doesn’t dull our collective interest in the material. But it is a damn good reason why math should, in a greater sense, rank higher than philosophy.


When mathematicians can answer these issues, then maths can be ranked above philosophy. Until then, any such ranking is done either in ignorance or denial.

I think there should be some justification of why those issues are somehow “more important” than issues particular to some other field.

What if I said this…


Until Philosophy can give us an answer to this easy-to-understand problem that has significant application in almost all areas of mathematics, Math will have to remain #1.

Maths needs stuff other than maths to justify itself. Philosophy doesn’t.


I disagree. Math says, “assuming axioms BLAH are true, what can we conclude?” Philosophy says “assuming the axioms of LOGIC are true, what can we conclude?”

Both have their assumptions, and draw their conclusions. It’s true that logic is, in some sense, more fundamental than set theory - but it isn’t any more or less TRUE, fundamentally. Both are just assumptions.

Exactly my point.

but is reality? ^^

are mittens better than gloves?
are peanut butter and banana sandwiches better than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?
is a bath or a shower better?

What does it matter if math is ranked above philosophy? Or if philosophy is ranked above math?

Twiffy, apart from the argument I do have to disagree with the follwoing statement:

I have said elsewhere, specifically in a comment about logical positivism, that if philosophy was concerned exclusively with establishing truth values it would be called philoverity.

Secondly, I see philosophy as having to include questions for which it is impossible to develop truth values. Questions like, “why is love important to me?” and “why do I feel that such and such is wrong?”



Still needs a def of arithmatic, which I believe we are still working on.

But when I type on my computer or drive in my car, I’m pretty sure that said proof is comming.

I’ve yet to use a tool designed by Hume or any of his philosophical descendents.

When I can use an ultra-reactionary chinaman from 500 BC as my guiding light without complaint in the modern day, but have to hunt for a justification for Hume I have to ask what kind of philosopher he was. There might be an infinitum of points between 1 and 1.1, but it is a different kind of infinite than that between -infinity and infinity.

You can use post-modernism as a shield when really it is a tool, SIATD, you taught me that and it has won me many an argument since. SIATD, please tell me you are using it as a tool.

Turing? Not really a descendent of Hume, I suppose, but another British logician without whom this conversation would not be possible.

While I balk at ‘postmodernism’, accepting it in the broad sense you’re using it, yes, I’m using it as a tool. I don’t believe that logic should rank higher than maths in any permanent, canonical sense.

Precisely as I said - maths uses stuff outside of maths to justify itself. The words ‘assuming’ and ‘axioms’ and ‘blah’ and so on are outside of maths, but not outside of logic. Feel free to disagree, but you’ll be using something outside of maths to do so.

Fine. I’m not going to object to this.

Mathematics and logic are the same thing, only that logic is more generalised. The “philosophy of mathematics” is different from any other math only in that it focuses on trying to discern the basis for math - Peano was a philosopher of mathematics. Whether this justifies that philosophy is more fundamental than mathematics or the other way 'round depends upon one’s conception of philosophy.

Mathematics and logic, if they can be seperated, are not sciences, they are methods of conductiing science, or of philosophy. The difference is that math and logic contain no empirical data - they are methods for sorting empirical data out.

Colin - your friend, the philosopher of math, who claims that “oneness” is real. He wouldn’t be a…a…a - a rationalist, would he? Just wondering. Do you think he could send me a oneness? If it’s not too big, or too much trouble. This would make a great gift item, you know, for the person who has everything.

I imagine that the postage on a oneness would run to several hundred dollars. I imagine a oneness as being quite a large thing, as opposed to an atom.

On the other hand, one could reasonably ask the question ‘how would one know if one had already received a oneness in the post?’ By which I meant, if the universe (or multi-) were one thing, having already arrived and very much here to stay, how would we know either way?