John Holmes

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John Holmes
Posted almost 2 years ago
Is the number "3" real?
I agree with both of your points. "3" seems to be a purely mental concept. Yet applied mathematics is extremely powerful. This raises the question, how can that be? If "3" is not inherent to objective reality (whatever THAT might be), how is it that removing one car (3-1) always results in two cars being present in the driveway?
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John Holmes
Posted almost 2 years ago
Is the number "3" real?
Hi, Edward. I agree with your comments on language. Is "three" purely conceptual? If so, and if it contains information that can be transferred, have we created something from nothing? How does "three" differ from "unicorn?"
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John Holmes
Posted almost 2 years ago
Is the number "3" real?
Hi, Talha. I tend to agree with you. However, this raises other questions. For example, why does applied mathematics work? 3-1=2, to take a trivial example. If someone moves one of the cars, then inevitably, there are two cars left in my driveway. Am I somehow creating the entire phenomenon? Is the mathematics behind physics creative or explanatory?
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John Holmes
Posted almost 2 years ago
Is the number "3" real?
Hi, Fritzie. Your question illuminates a flaw in my example. No, I don't define "real" as something I can touch. I'm not even sure I can come up with a good definition of "real." My common sense notion of the cars, though, is that they exist whether or not my mental construct of them exists or not. Of course, the notion of "car" is a mental construct, as is any other verbalization I might give. Still, there seems to be some independent physical existence to which I am attaching the word "car."