On 1/19/2014 4:18 PM, LizR wrote:
On 20 January 2014 10:39, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

    On 1/19/2014 1:26 PM, LizR wrote:
    On 20 January 2014 08:56, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
    <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

        On 1/18/2014 7:38 PM, LizR wrote:

            Or it could be because we, denizens of this physics/universe, 
invent them.

        Why would that make it effective, though? After all we also invented 
fairy
        tales, and conspiracy theories, and religion, and...)
        And those fairy tales were effective too - up to a point.  "Don't sleep 
near
        the swamp because the night demons will make you sick.", probably saved 
a lot
        of people from malaria.


    Fairy tales and religion "work", in this sense (when they do - there's a 
lot of
    nonsense invented by humans, too!) because they encode knowledge about the 
world.
    So why does maths work? If it encodes knowledge about the world, where does 
that
    information come from?
    It doesn't encode knowledge about the world.  It encodes relations between 
sentence,
    i.e. axioms=>theorems. With suitable interpretation we can use it to model 
the world
    (and evolution hardwired this to some degree): One apple and one orange 
makes two
    fruit.  Two tennis players and two basketball players make four players - 
oops, one
of the tennis players is also a basketball player, so it's only three players. Interpretation is essential.

Why does it model the world (apparently to quite a lot of decimal places) if it's only relations between sentences?

The modeling of the world is in our interpretation of it, a mapping from the observable world into mathematics, manipulation and inference, and the interpretation of the result as applying to the observable world. If it works to a lot of decimal places it means we've created a good model and the relations between sentences must correspond to some relation in the world.

Brent

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