The Invention of Mathematics

The Invention of Mathematics

 Author: Allison Rogers


It has been claimed that mathematics was invented. This claim is absurd.

Ponder the following mathematical truth: 2 + 2 = 4. Two and two sticks are four sticks, two and two goats are four goats, two and two groundhogs are four groundhogs. The item in question is irrelevant. Two plus two equals four regardless of time and place. To claim that addition was invented, one would have to agree that before its creation, two and two did not equal four or at least did not necessarily equal four. But to grant that inconsistency would undermine the entire addition and mathematic processes. One must accept that addition is true at all times and places in order to use it in proofs; otherwise, one would be unable to prove anything by it. One cannot invent truth; it can only be discovered.

Additionally, mathematics in and of itself is conceptual. It cannot be contained in writing, only represented. The idea of "four" does not depend upon it having been written. The Arabic numeral "4" means the same as the Roman numeral "IV", or as four vertical lines. True numbers are purely conceptual and universal. "Four," as an idea, is the same idea independent of language or culture. Unlike mathematics, however, inventions are not inherently true.

As numbers and addition were not invented, nor was mathematics. The discipline takes these and other universally true concepts and applies them through its various branches to find solutions and make discoveries. Beyond simply its practical application, mathematics demonstrates man's capacity to comprehend objective truth.



UD in the Community: Gospel of Life Dwellings Affirm Lives

Although she can no longer see, Tia does her best, like the mother she still is, to ensure the comfort of those around her from her perch on the edge of her bed. She is one of three elderly residents of St. Adelaide in Grand Prairie, one of Gospel of Life Dwellings' two locations. First conceived by Joe Flaherty, M.D., BA '86, a geriatrician, the idea for these homes was embraced and implemented -- and is continuously sustained -- by numerous UD alumni.

+ Read More

New Crusader Baseball Clubhouse Completed

Positioned off Crusader Drive, behind the batting cages and the centerfield wall of the baseball field, the university's newly constructed baseball clubhouse opened the first week in May, the last week of the season for the UD baseball team. This milestone marked the end of a years-long endeavor supported by the university's Baseball Booster Club to upgrade the team's existing locker room and practice facilities.

+ Read More