Sarukkai, Sundar
(2005)
Revisiting the 'unreasonable effectiveness' of mathematics.
Current Science, 88 (30).
pp. 415423.
ISSN 00113891
Preview 

PDF
revisiting_unreasonable_effectiveness_current_science.pdf
Download (71kB)

Abstract: 
Although the phrase 'unreasonable effectiveness' of mathematics is widely used, it is not clear what it means. To understand this phrase critically, we first need to understand the meaning of mathematics and what it means
to use it in the sciences. This paper begins by considering
the different views on the nature of mathematics,the diversity of which points to the difficulty in
understanding what mathematics really is, a difficulty
which adds to the mysteriousness of the applicability
of mathematics. It is also not clear as to what is applied
when we apply mathematics. What is clear however is
that mathematics cannot be applied to the world but
only to some descriptions of the world. This description
occurs through the medium of language and models,
thus leading us to consider the role of mathematics
as language. The use of a language like English to describe
the world is itself unreasonably effective and
the puzzle with mathematics is just one reflection of this
larger mystery of the relation between language and
the world. The concluding parts of this paper argue
how the view of mathematics as language can help us understand the mechanisms for its effective applicability. 
Item Type: 
Article

Additional Information: 
The Copyright belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences. 
Subjects: 
School of Humanities > Philosophy 
Divisions: 
Schools > Humanities 
Date Deposited: 
18 May 2006 
Last Modified: 
08 May 2015 09:34 
Official URL: 
http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/feb102005/415.pdf 
Related URLs: 

Funders: 
UNSPECIFIED 
Projects: 
UNSPECIFIED 
URI: 
http://eprints.nias.res.in/id/eprint/21 
Actions (login required)

View Item 