Subject: Re: What is Mathematics?
Date: Mon, 07 Jun 2000 00:20:50 -0500
From: Ben Rush
My main question, the question by which this entire mail surrounds is why mathematics? I am a computer engineering student and have always been fairly interested in mathematics yet somewhat conservative when it came time to studying it. The whole thing to me seems so confusing at its very roots. People continue to use it all of the time to prove this and to prove that, yet, even Godel proved that you must take some things on intuition because they cannot be proven in the scheme of natural numbers! In your message entitled "Re: What is Mathematics?" you stated that mathematics is the only science that explains why it's definition is impossible. I hate to feel this way but when it's so blatantly obvious that one rock plus another is two yet we have no defintion of the tool by which we stated that from, my mind starts seeing things in terms of contradictions.
I am just so utterly confused as to why mathematics is so successful in everything it does yet so "definably impaired". Sometimes I feel like I'm fishing with an imaginary rod when I'm using mathematics. Please give me some advice and perhaps some topics to explore to ease my curious and terribly frustrated mind.