The Humanity of Mathematics, from discussing “Event”

(I organize a Maths-Except-That-It-Is-Much-Cooler-Than-Most-School-Maths Society, and during our last meeting a question came up: What do we mean by an “event”? Here is my answer—which reads like a piece of Heideggerian apology):

We have to first specify what we really mean by an “event”. When we say event, we can mean an “event” in mathematics which we want to describe (assign probability, find out properties about). But there is also “event” in the existential sense, as in, It was a very important event in my life—wherein an event is something that has meaning to me as a human being. (See Kierkegaard and Badiou)

But although the two seems to separate themselves, I want to argue that the mathematical “event” takes its meaning from the existential “event’. As in, we can only specify an event in the world that I want to know about mathematically, if that is of interest to me. We can only think about the rolling of the dice as an event only if we see the dice as a whole object, know what “dice” means, and at least find it (perhaps mundanely) important for me to pick this specific moment out as an event out of all the chaos in the world. In philosophical jargon, something is always an event under a description; an event is a happening that is described by us

This makes Maths very human, because its existence depends on my involvement, and love, for the world around me. Else a basic concept, like Event, cannot even be specified.

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