Is math a science? NOT!

m.cahill.free at mailexcite.com m.cahill.free at mailexcite.com
Fri Jan 16 12:39:12 EST 1998


It's not entirely arbitrary that I'm posting this to the AI news group, at
least here there's a vigorous debate going on concerning the logic of this
proposition.

Mr. Lehe seems to be very busy posting this question ("Is math/maths a
science?) in what appears to be a cross-posting frenzy. So, maybe this
posting should be directed to him. Exactly what is meant by "math/maths" I
haven't a clue, but it's curious to me that he's willling to make this
distinction while seeming to question the distinction between math and
science.

I say 'seeming' because his question itself doesn't stand up to the
scrutiny of logic. First let's ask ourselves the inverse of the question,
which is 'Is there a science that is math?' Personally, I'm not aware of
such a science, per se. Anyway, I can't think of one off the bat. Though,
I suppose you could argue the point. However, when the question is put
into a contra- postive form, I think the issue become a little clearer.
Hence 'Is there no math that is not a science?' is a rediculous
proposition. Of course there's plenty of math that has nothing at all to
do with science, and therefore the question 'Is math a science?' is an
invalid question, at least logically speaking.

That makes sense to me because math and science are two different forms
of inquiry. Each with it's own conventions, objectives, and outcomes,
they form distinct catagorical lines of human endeavour. It's not merely
convenient to say math and science are different, they're different for
very good reasons. Perhaps the following will partially highlight some of
the reasons. Science concerns itself cheifly with the study of
phenomenon, i.e. ideas, concepts, things as they are represented to us.
Math on the other hand is a study in noumenon, i.e. ideas, concepts,
things which are the product of reason.

So, it's anyone's guess as to what's meant by the original question. It
certainly seems to suggest a lot of things to a lot of people and
contribute to a general confusion about the subjects at hand. Maybe the
question should be: Why does everyone want to call everything a science?
Political Science, Social Science, Math Science, Computer Science, and ad
nausea. . .

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