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### Rod Martin Jr says

Quantities and commensurate relationships are inherent in nature.

Numbers and other symbolic representatives of quantities and commensurate relationships found in nature are an invention of man.

The only "natural" thing about our Western representation of numbers is that it uses the base based on the number of fingers most humans have. But you can have a system of numbers on just about any positive base imaginable. It doesn't even have to be integer-based, though it's far easier for our simple minds to consider integers rather than irregular bases like "e" (used in natural logarithms).

The Babylonians used base 60, the Mayans used base 20, and we use base 10. Computers use base 2. Each of these systems had their purpose, their pros and cons. I discuss this more in my "Numbers are Beautiful" article.

### Cathy says

Good thinking question. I've always looked at the development of numbers, or counting, as an event that evolved. For example, I usually think of the abacus as a tool used for counting centuries ago. We use math in everything, even when we don't know it, I just bet!

### dashingscorpio says

I believe numbers were invented and agreed upon. The same thing can be said about money. We collectively (agreed) that one of piece paper is worth more than another.

Time is another man made invention. Time just is. We chronicle the "events" and attribute them to specific (time) when we say that was last year.

The only real difference between December 31st and January 1st is our mindset:-)

I partially agree with you that numbers and time are certainly defined in a somewhat arbitrary way. But do you not think that they had to first be discovered in order for such definitions to be warranted?

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### Brian L. Powell says

I have always viewed numbers and mathematics as one way of describing the world through symbols. From that perspective, it's math that is seeking out the laws of the universe. I would say numbers were invented to discover natural law, although I suspect that that in the beginning people were more interested in keeping track of their food through counting - probably a more critical activity before refrigeration was invented.

### MickeySr says

Numbers were discovered, or figured-out - how to tally them, how to specify or assign placement to them, that was invented . . . and when men ascertained the true value of zero, that's when simple counting turned into mathematics and a big step into the modern world began.

### Michael Routson says

Maths was found, for sure. It is a wonderous pair of glasses through which the world is infinetly complex and beautiful, more so than we could ever imagine or understand without my best friend, maths. Working with new formulas and concepts is like exploring new caves, diving to new depths or climbing to new heights. It is no small wonder that the world can speak to us in such an intricate way, and a greater wonder still that we can understand it. I apologise for the empassioned prose, but I just find it so exciting that there are so few accolades that would be unsuited to this subject!

### Mike Marks says

0 and 1, yin and yang, darkness and light, shakti and shiva, its all binary code building creation to look upon its own work itself.

### Mark Upshaw says

Numbers being symbols were fashioned from thought. Mathematics is discovered by contemplation.

The universe is aware of itself as we become aware.

### Sam Gurschick says

Mathematical principles are discovered not invented. Math is just a way to interpret the universe around us. No different than sight or hearing.

### JThomp42 says

The Classical Greek philosopher Plato was of the view that math was discover-able, and that it is what underlies the very structure of our universe. He believed that by following the intransigent inbuilt logic of math, a person would discover the truths independent of human observation and free of the transient nature of physical reality.