> I agree with you in that it is not a crackpot view that "mathematics > should try to constrain itself to physical reality". It is however a > very deplorable one, comparable to an intelligent person intentionally > constraining himself to the intellectual level of his environment.
I answered this elsewhere. I think my statement has been overinterpreted. What I meant was that mathematicians should use reality as a guide. Otherwise they may fall into the trap of discussing things that future generations will compare to discussions about how many angels can fit onto a pinhead.
> But > this is not the point that Wildberg is trying to make. His assertion is > that Mathematics IS constrained by physical reality. For example, he > claims that there are numbers which have no prime factorization, > because the process of factorization can not be accomplished in terms > of physical reality.<quote>It follows that long before you get to W you > are going to reach numbers whose prime factorizations are impossible, > since some of the factors, if they existed, would require more room to > write down than W.</quote> > That is an astonishing claim coming from someone who is in charge of > teaching mathematics at an university, and I would definitely qualifiy > it as a crackpot view.
I don't think that this assertion of his makes him into a crackpot. I think it is a rather intelligent point of view. That is not to say that I personally disagree with him. I think that resitricting numbers to those that you can compute is not the way to solve these philosophical issues. I myself do (sort of) believe in all the numbers between 1 and googolplex. But I think that the philosophical issues he raises are important, and that his viewpoint is legitimate.