An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Maths as rhyme?

I have recently read Vern Poythress's paper 'Mathematics as a rhyme'. Below are a few of my initial observations.

His idea as maths as a poem is an interesting idea, but I am not so sure as to how fruitful it is. It seems to be little more than Kepler/Galileo's idea that maths is the language of the universe.

I am not convinced of the metaphor of maths as a rhyme within the poem of the universe. It has too many resonances with the two books concept for my liking!

Not all poems rhyme!

If the poem is created by a poet, then the poet takes things he has not created (letters, words) to create the poem using rhyme etc. This suggest that God (poet) creates the universe (poem) using uncreated maths!

If maths is the rhyme what are the words?

He does makes some good points regarding mathematics; including:

Maths is a distinct science

It is not reducible to other sciences

Its regularities are a reflection of the faithfullness of God

There is at lest some degree of a posteri character within the knowledge of maths, even though it gives the impression that its truths are a priori

He subverts the view that maths is necessary rather than contingent. [ Though I would contend that it is necessary for creatures, but contingent for the Creator.]

Maths is personally structured [I'm not totally sure what he means here], for intelligibility there must be a personal interpreter.

There is a good discussion of reductionisms of logicism, formalism, intuition and empiricism - he shows the attractiveness of reductionism: "stimulating as a metaphor inadequate as ultimate explanation" [could this be said of maths as a rhyme within the poem of the universe?]

He shows the irreducibillity of the subparts of maths to one another.

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