The Language of Nature
The laws of Nature are written in the language of mathematics. ~ Galileo in the early 17th century
Mathematics has long been a favored target for neutral monism. Its seamless, open-ended entanglements have often made many scientifically inclined to consider math’s constructs the language of reality.
The enormous usefulness of mathematics in the natural sciences is something bordering on the mysterious, and there is no rational explanation for it. ~ Hungarian American physicist and mathematician Eugene Wigner
Austrian logician Kurt Gödel is among many who considered the concepts of math as forming “an objective reality of their own, which we cannot create or change, but only perceive and describe.”
It was mathematics, the nonempirical science par excellence, wherein the mind appears to play only with itself, that turned out to be the science of sciences, delivering the key to those laws of Nature and the universe that are concealed by appearances. ~ German political philosopher Hannah Arendt
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Mathematics is a merely mental abstraction that serves useful purposes. ~ Derek Abbott
Skepticism of mathematics as the language of reality has been succinctly stated by Australian electrical engineer Derek Abbott: that math is merely a mental invention which occasionally renders useful approximations of phenomena.
Mathematics is a product of the imagination that sometimes works on simplified models of reality. ~ Derek Abbott
The unraveling of Abbott’s argument begins with the observation that faculty for math is innate in all organisms. Even microbes must be able to tell when food supplies are plentiful or running short into order to take appropriate action – which they do based upon estimated quantity. Universalities of life are not inventions; at least, not inventions of those who innately use them.
Why Nature is mathematical is a mystery. The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle. ~ American theoretical physicist Richard Feynman
That any representation of Nature we may model is a gross simplification owes not to the limits of mathematics, but to our ability to understand and employ math. Every historian of science knows that science’s progress has been facilitated by mathematical discoveries. This has been especially true in physics.
For a physicist, mathematics is not just a tool by means of which phenomena can be calculated, it is the main source of concepts and principles by means of which new theories can be created. ~ English-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson