Mathematics as language

Although I mentioned last week that I want to consider more catching up on recent events, I haven’t actually done much of it. I’ve done a little more connecting peoples of the world and communities to biographical entries. I’ve been reviewing the early 21st century history of Institutions and the 20th century history of Culture. The most progress has been in connecting anthropology to elements of culture, personal studies to institutions and culture, and science to institutions.

A friend sent me a link to an article in the American Scientist:
Back in the 1980s when I was working out my organization of knowledge, at first I went along with a fairly conventional classification of mathematics as a science. I spent a lot of time in the library reading general works on mathematics and encountering some of its history, so many of the illustrations in this article were familiar to me. However, the more I delved into chemistry, astronomy, and earth science, the more I realized that “one of these things is not like the others”. I had also been working with college algebra students using an approach of translating the language of word problems into the language of algebraic equations, so I recognized a close affinity of mathematics and language. I had long been familiar with the claim that “Mathematics is the language of science”, although it has many applications beyond the physical and natural sciences.
Along with the observations of the American Scientist article, I note that a great deal of geometry has always been taught using drawings and graphics. Eventually, I decided that although mathematics has its roots in language, it really deserves recognition as a separate body of knowledge. It fit best, not under the physical and natural sciences, but under culture along with other creative works of man. More specifically, I classed mathematics under the general heading of conceptual culture on order to account for its affinities with language and graphics as well as to account for its distinct differences.

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