“Mathematics is a game played according to certain simple rules with meaningless marks on paper.”

I would have to agree with this statement. At first it seemed a little condescending to me, just because the quote is calling the concept of writing out math meaningless. Upon more thought, I realized that it makes sense. Math isn’t supposed to mean only what is on paper. Math represents ideas, which are easier to explain when written down.

I fully agree with the game aspect of this quote. It’s a fun game too! You can go about solving problems in many different ways, but most math requires a creative mind, and an ability to think of many ways to try a single problem. This is especially true with the problems we were working on in class today. I felt like I was playing a game! I thought I would finally have one problem figured out, someone else would say something, or prove something that puts me back at square one (much like Uno, which is my favorite card game). And it’s always fun to get the right answer before anyone else, let’s be honest.

Math is pretty simple as well, as long as you know the rules. The rules aren’t hard, they just build on each other, making it hard for some people who don’t remember the first rules. For example, if you don’t remember how to solve an equation for x, you’re going to have a hard time in any math class after algebra. The rules aren’t hard, just very important.

In my math classes so far, there has always been a common goal to solve a problem, and I’ve always found it entertaining. Before being set free to try and solve a problem, my teachers have always broken down how to do it, or given me exclusions, examples, or exceptions so I don’t get completely lost. So to think of math as a game with simple rules makes sense to me.

This quote is from David Hilbert, who was a 19th century mathematician known for simplifying geometry down to a series of simple statements, and was one of the “founding fathers” of formal foundations of mathematics (get it?! because this is for foundations of mathematics..the class..).

So yes, I think this quote is a very fun and accurate way to sum up math as a whole.


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