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Allan Hotti

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Is Mathematics a pure language, free of the ambiguities and pitfalls present in ordinary language communication?

Ordinary communication is riven with ambiguities, contradictions, manipulations, emotions, misunderstandings etc. etc., that makes communication so inefficient and contentious at times.

Is the language of Mathematics different? Can we rely on it to speak the truth?

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    Feb 25 2013: i believe the list you present as negatives (ambiguity, contradiction...) are actually positives. people are not machines and do not operate as machines, despite science and medicine's predication for bald reason and rationality. as a consequence, human language reflects this brilliantly necessary element of human frailty.

    something is only true until it is perceived. then it is no longer truth but only truth to the person who perceives it as such.
  • Feb 24 2013: Things are different and useful in their peculiar ways. Mathematics has its strength, so does other languages. Ambiguities, contradictions, emotions etc.....these are components of the beauty of the human experience.
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    Gail . 50+

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    Feb 24 2013: At its core, mathematics is a pure language, but it takes one skilled in understanding it as a language, and then further skilled in the context of the ideas being translated into ideas that we can understand, based on how much we know.

    I an use arithmetic to say that 1+1=2, and all here would agree. However, I can use mathematics to show that 1+1=3 or more. Only those familiar with a multidimensional context would understand and agree.

    I think that mathematics is more than a language. I think that it's a philosophy. I think that the multiverse is mathematical in nature, and that it (or at least its history) is best understood through the language of geometry.

    Think about what Pi means at a deeper level. It reaches into the infinite, which is how it speaks of greater things that humankind, in its current capacity, is able to comprehend.
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    Feb 24 2013: There are numerous sets of symbols in use in mathematics as well, so even in mathematical communications, it is important to be clear about the meaning of symbols.
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    Feb 25 2013: I am not fluent in math, but it seems to me that math is ultimately useful to describe. I can use words--with their abstractions, paradoxes, limits, and contradictions--to describe what I think or perceive, but math seems better suited to address ultimate reality. My favorite thing about laguage, though, is its ambiguity, which reflects being human better than math does.
  • Feb 25 2013: In agreement with edward long "Math is a human construct " though - it seems both text and mathematics despite being human construct - as constituents of a language for communicating the truth - are indicative of truth. Ambiguities, emotions, contradiction through text can be eliminated with constant churning of perspectives- Search for Meaning/ Nuggets of Truth !! that results in solid/ irrevocable insights / Truth - Intuition- Wisdom. Please see more on similar theme explored at http://www.ted.com/conversations/16464/after_learning_a_language_why.html
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    Feb 25 2013: Sorry, the answer is NO. Math is a human construct and as such has inherent "ambiguities, contradictions, manipulations, emotions, misunderstandings, etc". There is no human construct upon which we can rely to speak the Truth (and only the Truth).
  • Feb 24 2013: I guess the answer is a qualified "No"
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    Feb 24 2013: language of math is much more formalized than natural languages, but still not perfectly formalized. that is why after a proposed proof of a conjecture comes out, mathematicians spend weeks or months of time to validate it. there was a proposal some time ago, to use a perfectly standardized and abstract, 100% precise formalism in articles. such a formalized proposed proof could be tested by a computer, in microseconds. however, presenting a proof in this format takes a ton of time. basically, you need a staff to rewrite your arguments in this proposed format, using up hundreds of expert man-hours of work. this approach is not practical even in the very abstract field of math.

    if you want to formalize real world statements precisely, you will need many lifetimes of work of experts. by the time they come up with a totally precise formulation of statements, we have arrived at a solution long ago. it is hopeless.