35 votes

Is the surprising applicability of mathematics to the physical world a brute fact, or something crying out for a theistic explanation?

Reality existed. Math was invented, partly to describe and predict reality, a useful tool. Calculus specifically is an example... Isaac Newton (1642–1727) is best known for having invented the ...
Alistair Riddoch's user avatar
22 votes
Accepted

Is the surprising applicability of mathematics to the physical world a brute fact, or something crying out for a theistic explanation?

The biggest issue seems to be that Craig implies that mathematics is entirely disconnected from the physical world. But maths emerged from our understanding of physical world. We saw that when you put ...
NotThatGuy's user avatar
  • 9,779
10 votes

Nothingness: What philosophical concept relates to how the empty set is a subset of every set?

In mathematics the empty set is defined as the set which has no element. A set A is a subset of a set B, if each element of A is also an element of B. If A is the empty set and B arbitrary, then there ...
Jo Wehler's user avatar
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9 votes
Accepted

Can the laws of physics and the constants of nature exist in a fundamental sense without mathematical realism?

As is the case with many questions on this and related topics, the real difficulty in making any progress is that the word 'exist' and phrases such as 'exist in a fundamental sense' are inherently ...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
  • 21.7k
9 votes

Is the surprising applicability of mathematics to the physical world a brute fact, or something crying out for a theistic explanation?

My three cents. It has been claimed that the effectiveness of mathematics on physical reality is anything but unreasonable. The reason is twofold. First many theories and areas of mathematics were ...
Nikos M.'s user avatar
  • 2,706
8 votes

Is the surprising applicability of mathematics to the physical world a brute fact, or something crying out for a theistic explanation?

The argument presupposes that the relevance of mathematics to physics is remarkable. However, if you spend any time reflecting on that, you should readily conclude that it is not remarkable at all. To ...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
  • 21.7k
6 votes

Why are pure powers of the empty set insufficient as a definition for ordinals?

The following sequence is called the “pure” or “irreducible” power sets of the empty set: {}, {{}}, {{{}}}, {{{{}}}}, … Conceptually, this sequence ‘represents’ order, to me. Why is it insufficient, ...
ac15's user avatar
  • 1,422
6 votes

Is the surprising applicability of mathematics to the physical world a brute fact, or something crying out for a theistic explanation?

So wait a second. The two alternative hypotheses are: God created the world and made physics work by math because he is generous to human physicists and wanted them to be able to use math. Simple, ...
causative's user avatar
  • 13k
5 votes

Is the surprising applicability of mathematics to the physical world a brute fact, or something crying out for a theistic explanation?

No, the applicability of mathematics to the physical world is not surprising - to me at least, and evidently to many others - with or without explanation, theistic or otherwise. Nor is it necessarily ...
Corey's user avatar
  • 328
5 votes

Can the laws of physics and the constants of nature exist in a fundamental sense without mathematical realism?

Can the laws of physics and fundamental constants of nature exist without fundamental mathematical constants, operators, and equations also existing? Kinda depends on what in particular you mean by &...
haxor789's user avatar
  • 5,901
5 votes

Can falsehood be measured? If so, would it be continuous or discrete?

Fuzzy logic has infinitely many degrees of truth, for any real value from the interval [0, 1]. Truthlikeness (sometimes thought of as "proximity to the truth") is an even more subtle matter, ...
Kristian Berry's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Are all validities isomorphic or equivalent to valid proofs?

You’re on the right track, but it’s worth noting that the notion of proof is dependent on which proof system you use, while the notion of valid argument form is more general. A valid argument just ...
PW_246's user avatar
  • 1,262
4 votes

What are some critiques of my philosophy about approaching claims of truth using the scientific method?

Even though there has been evidence suggesting possible logical inconsistency (Godel Incompleteness), after 100 years of extensive use, no inconsistencies have appeared. This is simply wrong. The ...
user21820's user avatar
  • 496
4 votes

What are some critiques of my philosophy about approaching claims of truth using the scientific method?

You might say, that we know 1 + 1 = 2 is certainly true. However, this is essentially a definition, following from the definition of the successor and addition operations. Given certain definitions (...
wizzwizz4's user avatar
  • 2,160
4 votes

Are all validities isomorphic or equivalent to valid proofs?

Are all validities isomorphic or equivalent to valid proofs? as it stands, the question does not make much sense, but what you may have in mind are soundness and completeness results for a formal ...
ac15's user avatar
  • 1,422
4 votes
Accepted

Should truth be defined in terms of satisfiability

Should truth be defined in terms of satisfiability? What is it that we want semantics (for some formal theory, presumably) to do? Some people think of it in terms of "saying what it is our ...
ac15's user avatar
  • 1,422
4 votes

Is the surprising applicability of mathematics to the physical world a brute fact, or something crying out for a theistic explanation?

No one's really given what I think is the best answer yet. First of all, let's grant Premise 2 here. I think it is absolutely correct that mathematics is surprisingly applicable to the physical world. ...
user73418's user avatar
4 votes

Can falsehood be measured? If so, would it be continuous or discrete?

All models are wrong, but some are useful (GEP Box) All scientific theories are models of reality, and they are all going to be wrong or incomplete in some detail. Asking for "truth" is an ...
Dikran Marsupial's user avatar
3 votes

Is the surprising applicability of mathematics to the physical world a brute fact, or something crying out for a theistic explanation?

Mathematics is the study of assumptions, and the consequences of those assumptions. If, then. If x is a real number and x^2 + 6 = 5x, then x=2 or x=3. The natural numbers have applications to the ...
wizzwizz4's user avatar
  • 2,160
3 votes

Simple question really: If pi is an irrational number, what does that say about circles and our measurements?

You are assuming that your pieces of thread have well-defined lengths, which is incorrect. To begin with, the length of the threads will vary with humidity and temperature. More fundamentally, however,...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
  • 21.7k
3 votes

Is the surprising applicability of mathematics to the physical world a brute fact, or something crying out for a theistic explanation?

Craig, Oppy: Premise... "mathematics is surprisingly applicable to physical reality, indicating God exists" Which mathematics is it, that are supposed to be "surprisingly applicable to ...
Alistair Riddoch's user avatar
3 votes

Is the surprising applicability of mathematics to the physical world a brute fact, or something crying out for a theistic explanation?

A brute fact. I don't even see why the question God's (non-)existence could emerge from the usefulness of an idealized framework like math to the physical world that we live in. Even if you envision a ...
Trunk's user avatar
  • 169
3 votes

Can falsehood be measured? If so, would it be continuous or discrete?

Predictive statements - of which scientific theories are a subset - have a model, a domain, a precision, and a level of certitude. Take the statement: If Alice visits the corner store after midnight, ...
g s's user avatar
  • 5,915
3 votes

Why Do Magnetic Field Lines Point Clockwise Around a Current?

Static magnetic fields have their characteristic shape because of (described mathematically by) Ampere's Law. Ampere's law is empirical; it was inferred from data, not derived from more fundamental ...
g s's user avatar
  • 5,915
3 votes

Why Do Magnetic Field Lines Point Clockwise Around a Current?

Consider the magnetic field, the vector B, originating from a wire of infinite length with constant current density, the vector j pointing in positive z-direction. Then the vector B lies in the (x,y)-...
Jo Wehler's user avatar
  • 31.7k
2 votes

What does the term "mathematical logic" mean?

Mathematical Logic and Computation, Jeremy Avigad(2022): In the phrase mathematical logic, the word “mathematical” is ambiguous. It can be taken to specify the methods used, so that the phrase refers ...
Poscat's user avatar
  • 121
2 votes

Are all validities isomorphic or equivalent to valid proofs?

'Isomorphic' isn't the right term, but in first order classical logic, and many others, there is a simple relationship between a valid sentence and a valid argument form. For any given argument, you ...
Bumble's user avatar
  • 25.2k
2 votes

Is the surprising applicability of mathematics to the physical world a brute fact, or something crying out for a theistic explanation?

From the transcript in the question (emphases mine): Oppy: ... We suppose also--and this is the only kind of new assumption that we're going to make to go along with the kind of metaphysical picture ...
Jed Schaaf's user avatar

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