Why Mathematics Works so Well (Noson Yanofsky)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on March 21st from 4:15-6:15 (NY time) in-person at the Graduate Center (Room 5382) for a talk by Noson Yanofsky (CUNY).

Title: Why Mathematics Works so Well

Abstract: A major question in philosophy of science involves the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in physics. Why should mathematics, created or discovered, with nothing empirical in mind be so perfectly suited to describe the laws of the physical universe? To answer this, we review the well-known fact that the defining properties of the laws of physics are their symmetries. We then show that there are similar symmetries of mathematical facts and that these symmetries are the defining properties of mathematics. By examining the symmetries of physics and mathematics, we show that the effectiveness is actually quite reasonable. In essence, we show that the regularities of physics are a subset of the regularities of mathematics.

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