Poznawcze funkcje matematyki

Filozofia Nauki 4 (2001)

The paper is an attempt to present the cognitive functions of mathematics in relation to empirical sciences. Firstly - mathematics is a 'generator' of mathematical categories used in natural sciences. In this sense mathematics is a science about the tools of cognition which it creates or perfects. Secondly - mathematics plays the role of 'prism' through which we view the world because some phenomena e.g. from the micro- and macro-world can only be seen through the prism of mathematical structures and notions. And thirdly - mathematics is also a 'selector' of cognitive content. It eliminates from the cognitive field these phenomena which presently can't be grasped by the existing mathematical structures. It is worth noticing that the functions of mathematics: 'selector' and 'prism' are complementary in some sense; although they are opposites ('prism' lets you 'see' something, and 'selector' restricts this 'seeing'), they don't exclude each other
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