Mathematical thinking

The Kavli Foundation sponsored an interesting conversation among four scientists about whether mathematical concepts are natural or inventions of humans: “What are the origins of math?”

MAX TEGMARK: When different cultures evolve, they arent all going to come up with the concepts and words for all the different mathematical structures, but I think they will all come up with some of the most useful concepts. All cultures find it useful to distinguish between one and two, so they can know if they left one kid behind in the forestducks are really good at keeping track of how many babies they have swimming after them--whereas studying abstract algebra may not be something important to all cultures.