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Thread: what really is a number

  1. #1 what really is a number 
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    What really is a number?

    I know numbers look different to one another, like Daa.........BUT, numbers are used in equations to prove, to SYMBOLIZE, some type of feature of space-time.

    Is it possible therefore, "possible", that a number can actually itself alone, a single number, symbolize a FEATURE of space-time?

    Like, for instance, what if the number "1" represented a feature of space-time, a line for instance joining two points?

    What if the number "1" is a code itself for a mathematical algorithm defining the interaction between two points?


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    a number by its nature, is a variable, in that it stands in for what we really want to calculate.
    and this is what makes numbers immensely powerful.
    theres no limits what a number can morph into.
    you can have 1 whale. you can have 1 cell in that whale.
    you can have 1 DNA string, in that whales cell or you can count the amount of DNA "fuses" in the whales DNA.

    numbers are context sensitive, in that, if they have no context, they have no meaning, and thats why a lot of people have problems understand math in school. in much of the more abstract algebra, people are given abstract ways to solve abstract problems with no real-life context.
    you get a feeling that what you are learning, is worthless.

    you cannot put 1 by itself, and simply call it 1, because 1 indicates a quantity of something.and if 1 is not a quantity of something, it loses its meaning,
    and becomes a worthless abstraction.

    similarly, numbers can easily oversimplify.

    lets say you want count how many apples you have.
    you go ahead and count 46 apples.
    how many apples are rotten?
    you dont know, because you didn't count the rotten apples,
    and what you find out is that you really wanted to know how many apples you can eat/sell.

    you can start making assumptions. you take a quick look at your apples, and it sems theres more rotten apples than fresh ones.
    so you figure its easier to count the apples that are not rotten.
    but if its the opposite way, you'll want to count the rotten apples, and subtract that number from the fresh apples.

    so that basically underlines my first assumption.
    math is about making shortcuts, because shortcuts makes life easier.
    but whats the purpose of shortcuts if learning the shortcut takes longer than the time you'd actually save by using that shortcut?


    when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth
    A.C Doyle
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    dejawolf, great explanation. Your:

    "numbers are context sensitive, in that, if they have no context, they have no meaning, and thats why a lot of people have problems understand math in school. in much of the more abstract algebra, people are given abstract ways to solve abstract problems with no real-life context."

    That's one reason why many very intelligent individuals who excel in all types of fields develop math phopia. Many fellow geologists entered the field in part because we could sink our teeth into nitty gritty 'stuff'.

    Streamsystems: you're question is not unique but based in the earliest works of western civilization. You are in good company along side Greek philosophers and especially Plato. Mathematical equations, geometry, numbers, etc. were seen as being 'perfect' as were the ideal representation of all values and physical objects. Your number '1' existed in an ideal form as did a rock or a chair...no less real than the physical representations we see around us.

    Having said that, I'd say the answer to you question is no. Numbers and any use of numbers is just a means to explain the world around us. Matter and energy existed for billions of years before we tried to understand them and will exist long after we cease to think about it. There is nothing instrinsic in the quantum or in matter and energy that requires explanation of relationships, quantification, measurement, etc.. Things just 'are' and numbers are an artificial construct to rationalize. Plato, however, would disagree with me.
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    I agree with all said.

    When we use numbers, ultimately, we are trying to, according to science, "map" space-time with numbers. Ultimately then we are trying to arrive at an equation or graph of numbers that explains space-time. I was simply cutting to the chase in suggesting that "1" could represent the symbol of a line drawn between two points in space, and how the process of "1" wanting to become "0" (an arbitrarily drawn u condition, obviously), would represent a "process" involving "time"........and to then construct an algorithm of the "1_0" to explain the potential behavior of two points in space trying to equate one another out, to give a real map of that process of space and time.

    What I was proposing was a "new way" of regarding numbers, and in this case, "1" and "0".

    I take the comparison to Plato well. He was a giant of his time.....he more than anyone else of his time has fared time well, even though he was apparently dismissed by his peers.
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    Your proposal actually touches on elements of String Theory. Cripes, now your in the same groove as Plato AND Stephen Hawking.
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    I only became aware that "string theory" seemed to interface with the theory early this year, when I had the algorithm established, a linking of points of space as strings from zero to infinity.

    Hawking's book "and God created the Integers" allowed me to more simply summarize Euclid and Newton in the context of what it was I was presenting. I have added new appendixes to the theory at the same website highlighting how I have defined the "process" of multiplication as a feature of the actual mechanics of space-time as opposed to the simple concept as it exists as we know it.

    To me, mathematics became like thick undergrowth that failed to allow one to see the forest for the trees: a more streamlined approach to the use/application of numbers was required, hence my use of the number "1" for instance as a concept of space itself (two points and a line), and the employment of "0" as the way time can be incorporated into the process of "1" becoming "0".

    As I maintain in the theory, it is new, the use of numbers. Comparisons to Hawking and Plato I can appreciate, because that's really what's going on, linking our most advanced theories with our earliest.

    If you like the theory, that you understand it, check for new editions.
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    streamsystems you seem to like your philosophical threads. Although I think most of them are nonsense (I genuinely don't mean to be rude) I'll indulge you in this one.

    In my opinion, number is property of a set. For example, two bags of marbles, one with 10 in it and the other with 20, are entirely identical in all respects, the only thing that differentiates them is the number of marbles in each one. So in that sense number is a property that a set posseses.
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    your opinion stands correct if a number is a property of a set.

    By definition (post haste), the "set" I apply numbers to, well, the set I apply the number "1" to, is another number, "0": that's the equation........it's a paradox, namely, how can "1" be "0".

    I KNOW it doesn't sound logical, or "normal", but I wrote a book about it.
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    Is that book published?
    Cogita ante salis
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    Not yet, for contract-legal reasons, while making submissions to a variety of potentially interested research blogs. But that's beside the point. The book is not about "1" being in the set of "0" as much as no one has written a book about the 0_1 gates of computers, and how computers generally are in the "0" set position.............you know.
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    Thanks. What are your credentials for this? To reiterate other comments, so far I've only seen philosophic postings from you nothing that establishes a mathematical background. (If I've overlooked them, my apologies.)
    Cogita ante salis
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    Essentially, I have studied 5 out of 6 years of a medical degree, Sydney, passing four, leaving the rest to the best, owing to my colourblindness (inability to properly diagnose people's ailments ivolving shaeds of red, bruises included), and then decided to apply my understanding of Medicine to a mathematical theory of how we think, how we are aware, and so on, establishing an as yet unheard of mathematical algorithm that "best sums up" our process of being conscious, biologically speaking. I then applied that algorithm to a "virtual reality" model of space-time, and found accordingly what the space-time mechanics of that virtual reality would be, from the atom to the broad structures. It's just a theory, but it does raise interesting insights into the potential construction of our own space-time. I have only officially released it mid-2007.

    My mathematical background is high-grade high school, while also linking numbers to a very complex field of potential biological equations. Medicine is my axe.

    Other than that, not much.

    Did you study Latin?
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    My belief is that numbers are fundamental: the only characteristic they have to identify themselves by, is their numerical magnitude. I believe that the only way to describe a certain characteristic of matter, for example its force charge or vibrational energy, is by stating a value for it (the number, say, is so-many electron-volts) and by stating the apparent effects of this characteristic.

    - Sezarus
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  15. #14  
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    I agree.

    But if numbers could link with other numbers in a neatly fit symbolic manner according to their symbols, we could save a lot of paper.

    We may even be considered as "intelligent" by visting lifeforms to this planet.
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  16. #15 what is a number 
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    it is not neccesary to make the definition of number so complex. the meaning of number changes with the reference to context
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