What is the purpose of studying mathematics?

I’ve posed this question to people I know to see what they would respond with. I’m curious at what people think on this topic.

To make sure everyone is on the same page, there’s are two big categories of math. Applied mathematics and pure mathematics.

Applied mathematics is studying math with an intended application already. This would include statistics, probability, game theory, optimization, computer learning, computer science, etc.

Pure mathematics is studying math to know more about math. This would include things like mathematical logic, abstract algebra, topology, number theory, analysis, etc.


What is the purpose of studying mathematics?

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Mathematics teach you logic and problem solving. You learn to take things one step at a time, you learn to focus on what's in front of you and not what could or couldn't be, you learn to rely on facts and calculating (thinking) before making assumptions.
    You learn that there might more then one way to solve a problem, or that the same problem can have different approaches or even multiple solutions.
    You learn to reaproach a problem and change your way of thinking in order to solve it, retrace your steps and find what you did wrong.
    And ultimately...

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Most Helpful Guy

  • Awesome question!

    For me, I'm all about pure mathematics; It's abstraction, elegance, richness, beauty, perfection - it's intellectually stimulating while being visually entrancing.

    When you activate your cognitive faculties and think logically, precisely, critically, and analytically, you then feel a sense of accomplishment when you finally solve a difficult question - that "Eureka!" breakthrough moment after being stuck on it for ages. It's fulfilling and rewarding in many ways 😃

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    • 14 d ago

      Any favorites you have?

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    • 14 d ago

      Note to self: Never hire @aa180 for any engineering projects.

      *airplane explodes*
      “Oh.”
      *changes plus to minus*

    • 14 d ago

      Hahaha

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What Girls & Guys Said

1615
  • Math is a mysterious phenomenon.

    At its basis, organizing reality in groups of "numbers," which aren't even real entities in nature, is a strange thing to do.

    You do not need to count to hunt, make a shelter, or for sustaining ones life in general.

    But there it is.

    Humans have such bizarre minds compared to any other living thing - known at least - so it seems like another piece of this edge we have.

    Grouping things numerically provides another field of perception that bends nature if you will. Numbers allow us to analyze and manipulate reality, like being able to optimize how many crops to save vs consume, before a famine, in which we survive whereas we would just die consuming as we want otherwise.

    I believe its a hint to the fact that humans are really supernatural, as numbers are one of the cores to our ability to manifest what we think into reality.

    Technology as a great example.

    We wanted to fly, so we crunched some numbers and put a 20 ton mechanical miracle into the air.

    Imagine attempting that without math lol

    People who go beyond applied are just like people who enjoy singing beyond performing. Who like to do it as a hobby and enthuse.

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    • 14 d ago

      So do you think the philosophy of math idea of fictionalism is true? The fictionalist would say numbers and math do not exist, it’s just a tool we made up to be really useful.

      I’m more for logicism, the idea that math can ultimately be derived from logic.

    • 14 d ago

      You can't really make up something that works - would be my thoughts on that.

      The reality of "math", grouping things by "numbers," is something thats existed before our definition of it.

      We dont necessarily create all of reality - most of it we are born into and discover - meaning it existed in truth before even us.

      We just defined our type of categorizing as "math;" ant colonies define theirs as several "smelly storage holes" that are scented so they know to put eggs in this one, or food in another.

      But who taught a human to math, and an ant to store?

      Thats why its mysterious.

      Our species just utilizes what we've already been given, via physically or mentally, in our way.

      As do ants. We just analyze it more to figure what else we can do to our benefit with it, in our reality that differs from basic storage needs of ants. We want to be entertained, to fly, to war, to live forever even.

      An ant wants to eat and make more ants.

      Logic is even more mysterious.

      From it comes millions of things. Even art, talking, singing - requires logic.

      So yea, math is a fruit of logic Id agree.

  • While i suck at math I do think math is very important. We use math everyday from baking a cake to laying down flooring.

    What is the purpose of studying math? That I think depends on what future goals one has. Math is the universal language so I think everyone should study and apply themselves to math.

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    • 14 d ago

      Baking cake and putting down flooring. So calculations?

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    • 14 d ago

      I do yes.

    • 14 d ago

      This is something called the Banach Tarski Paradox. What you are seeing there is the fact that it is possible to dismantle a sphere, rearrange all the points, and reassemble two copies of the original, no extra point needed.

      Mathematics is more than just calculation. If math was about calculation, why talk about the incalculable.

  • The way I see it is that mathematics is a powerful tool you can apply in almost any part of your life. Intense training can lead to many career opportunities like business, finance, medicine, engineering, and basic sciences. At the same time, mathematics is a self-contained subject that is worth studying simply for its grace and history.

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  • Math helps many things to work. It's in literally everything, engineering, building, inventing, making products, if you think about it, the applications are limitless.. Roller coasters, cars, houses, game systems all require some form of math. Now in terms of direct application, while many places have math direct use probably architect or math teacher

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  • I find that math creates more curiosity. Like seeing a pattern in nature or something and there's an equation ot theorem that explains it.
    It teaches logic and problem solving that are used in every aspect of life.

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  • I think the purpose is to find hidden enigmas that nature hides and make them into a rational framework so humanity can understand them, and apply the theories into societal and scientific development. But that's just my opinion. I study psychology so it's not really my field. Good question nonetheless :)

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  • I am terrible at maths but my teacher believes I will pass this year.

    I think the purpose of Maths is to help individuals with either everyday math related situations such as when paying for items so you know the change that is due or when looking at limited deals to see if it is actually saving money.

    Other situations would include careers that revolve around mathematical problem solving such as computer code development, corporation profit employees for summarising annual income or losses etc.

    While not everyone needs the included maths that is taught, we are all taught it equally so we have the opportunity should we want it.

    I know I will never use algebra and I know I will never use Pi but I will likely use simple adding methods for day to day life :)

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    • 14 d ago

      So just calculations?

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    • 12 d ago

      Yeah...

    • 12 d ago

      This is known as the Banarch Tarski paradox. It shows you could take apart of sphere, rearrange all the points, and get 2 of the original sphere.

  • I don’t know much about it, but people who like math (like my sister) find both applied and pure math fascinating.

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    • 14 d ago

      Remind me, what was she studying about?

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    • 14 d ago

      It’s really cool, yet strange.

      Firstly notice that every integer could be generated from the natural numbers and operations addition and subtraction. Next, notice every rational number can be generated from taking two integers, a and b, and forming a/b. To generate every real number, you need something called a Dedekind cut (which isn’t too important to know now as much to know that it exist). So what gives us the natural number.

      This is Peano axioms.
      Let us have a set called N.
      1. K is an element of set N.
      2. There is a function who’s input and outputs are in N. K is an element of N implies S (K) is an element of N.
      3. K is never an output of S (x) for all x in N.
      4. If x and y are in N, then if x=y, it implies S (x)=S (y)
      5. Suppose there is a subset T of N that
      a. Contains K.
      b. K is an element of T implies S (K) is an element of T. This implies N will be the minimal set to satisfy all of these conditions.

      So K exist by axiom 1.
      S (K) exist by axiom 2 and is different that the previous by axiom 3.
      S (S (K)) exist by axiom 2 and is different by axiom 3 and 4. And so on.

      We can be sure this is the only chain we see. And this gives us all the natural number in a pretty intuitive sense, since you learn counting by learning one, then learning inductively that you just just add one each time.

    • 14 d ago

      Oh wow! I actually understood that.

  • I don't like maths...
    But I have a friend who's studying maths as an undergrad, she wants to be a maths teacher.

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    • 14 d ago

      So why do you think that universities should pay for math, or why study math? What are your opinions on this topic?

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    • 14 d ago

      I’ve heard of the Riemann hypothesis, but I don’t know what it is.

    • 14 d ago

      @PrincessGrail @Some_Goof

      Well Euclid is the mathematician who wrote about the first systematic book on mathematics. It was self contained, meaning no prior knowledge required. He layed out his axioms.

      1. If you have two points, a line can be drawn between them.
      2. If you have a line segment between two points, you can extend that line however you long you want, even indefinitely.
      3. If you have a point and that point is at the end of a line segment, you can draw a circle with that line segment as the radius.
      4. All right angles are the same.

      But the fifth postulate was the big problem.
      5. If a straight line intersect two other line, if the sum of the interior angles add up to less than two right angle, if these two lines are produced indefinitely, then at some point they’ll intersect.

      The fifth axiom is known as the parallel postulate. It’s saying if I have two lines, and a third line is drawn between them, and if the angles of the two line add up to less than 180 degrees, then these lines have to intersect at some point.

      This really illustrate the big issue. Axioms are necessary assumptions to make in math so we can derive results and they should be very obvious. The first four seems obvious. But the fifth one, not so much. It seems like the fifth postulate should be a logical consequence of the first four axioms.

      So how do we bring prove the parallel postulate.

  • I'm doing math teaching internship. I think mathematics is a very important science.

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  • Reasons for studying applied math is rather obvious. The reason for studying pure math is to develop new mathematical methods that will allow us to solve currently intractable or unsolvable problems.

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    • 14 d ago

      It is amazing how an exercise in pure math often leads to deep insights about the natural world. And vice versa.

  • Consider jumping off a curb.
    Consider jumping off the Empire State Building.
    If you understand mathematics, you know which one you can do safely and one you can't.
    Lots of things in life are just like that and understanding mathematics is the difference between success and ruin, life and death.

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  • I don’t see any point past algebra because most people don’t apply the knowledge in their work or casual lives. I can guarantee you I’ve never had to figure out the surface area of a damn sphere in the real world 😏

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  • I have a truly marvelous answer to this question but this margin is too narrow to contain :)
    Maybe I will write a myTake about this some time later this week.

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  • It trains your mind passively to understand and approach life in a methodological and logical manner.

    After maths you are inherently geared to see life in a more 1 + 1 way, rather than everything is everywhere choas.

    When you are logical you can sort out problems easier.

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  • To be able to use it as a tool to solve problems and also to learn how to think and reason logically.

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  • Math/logic is behind everything we do. Rocket science, astrophysics, quantum mechanics, medicine, any career you can think of has some element of math. Master math at the highest levels, and you're in demand everywhere.

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    • 13 d ago

      So you think it is about calculations?

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    • 13 d ago

      that much is beyond my knowledge, but I'd say thay generally it makes sense to take the more serious dive into what we do know first.

    • 13 d ago

      concerning continuum hypothesis and and zfc set theory

      that*

  • I am terrible at math
    I guess its most useful for engineering

    I dont find important in my life at all. Only basic math is really applicable for most people.

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    • 14 d ago

      Engineering?

      I have an idea called the Logical Contingency, which explains why the average person should care about pure mathematics.

  • You answered your own question. Except maybe that “pure mathematics “ has a rate of convergence to applied math. So

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  • Math is the queen of "all" sciences. No one can say "this is the exact use of maths". It's a miracle. In a mathematical way, the purposes of math are "infinite".

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  • The purpose? well anything you wish to do with it...

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  • It helps you when you want to know how much you are getting for your next paycheck.

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  • It is present everywhere.
    Depends on what extent you like to take it.

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  • Math is extremely important maths is used for everything try to do something without it go shopping math how much money to buy a certain weight of fruit which is better to buy which has the most for the best price or is the difference worth it how about going for a run for a star you're clothes needed math to be made the weight the right size and when you go running you go running for a certain distance or a certain time so the purpose is everything especially tech you have to have everything just right for it to work

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  • To make my fucking head explode 😆 I really suck at math

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  • To not be a dumb shit, please excuse my Filipino

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    • 7 d ago

      Is that all?

      What about art or English? Do we need to know those? Is math or English more valuable and why?

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    • 5 d ago

      what like?

    • 5 d ago

      Who wouldn’t want to know the mysteries of math for its own sake?

      Like discovering that it is possible to draw a line passing through all points of a square.

  • Who knows. I don't see a point at all. 👍

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  • It’s useful for a number of things.

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    • 13 d ago

      What about mathematics that has yet an application?

    • 13 d ago

      That never really interested me. I see a use for applied math even though it’s not that interesting to me. My brother seem to be interested in it and pretty passionate about theoretical math for a few years, but eventually decided against it and went the computer science route. He was excepted to a math Ph. D program but said fuck that and went and wrote software instead.

  • To learn how to think.

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  • i hate math i dont even use what did they teached me like bruh why i learned in the first place”?

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  • To keep yourself occupied for a while and postpone real career decisions

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