Date: Mar 25, 2013 5:19 PM
Subject: Re: Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought

On Mar 25, 7:14 pm, david petry <>
> On Monday, March 25, 2013 7:37:18 AM UTC-7, Dan wrote:
> > On Mar 25, 7:28 am, david petry <>
> > wrote:

> > > Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought
> > > Author:  Vladimir Tasi?
> > > Oxford University Press, 2001
> > > "[this book] traces the root of postmodern theory to a debate on the foundations of mathematics early in the 20th century"  -- from a blurb appearing in Google Books
> > > I've always thought there was a connection:
> > > Theorem:  Truth, reality and logic are mere social constructs.
> > > Proof: By Godel's theorem,  yada, yada, yada
> > > I actually believe that postmodernism is driving western civilization into a dark ages.  And I think that's a good reason for getting mystical metaphysical nonsense out of mathematics.  But no one seems to care.

> > Rather ironic that you're attempting  to use Godel's theorem to
> > undermine meaning in mathematics .

> Actually I'm not.  The point I was alluding to is that whenever I see postmodernism discussed on the Internet, Godel's theorem always seems to come up. I think that's silly.
> Here's what I actually believe:  Falsifiability, which is the cornerstone of scientific reasoning, can be formalized in such a way that it can serve as the cornerstone of mathematical reasoning. And in fact, it's already part of the reasoning used by applied mathematicians;  ZFC, which is not compatible with falsifiability, is not a formalization of the mathematical reasoning used in applied mathematics.  Also, Godel's proof is not compatible with falsifiability.
> It is falsifiability that gives mathematics meaning.

> >  any well defined program either
> > halts of does not halt , always .

> Of course, the constructivists who reject the Law of the Excluded Middle, disagree.

Science originated from mathematics , not the other way around . To
attempt to apply the ridiculous constraints of science to mathematics
seems to me , frankly, ludicrous .
The principle of falsifiability says roughly this : you have this
mysterious entity , the world , like a black box , of which you don't
assume nothing about . Absolutely nothing . A black box that sends out
output that might as well be random . As a result of this , you can
have theories about how the box works, but you can never be sure .
Nothing about the world can be proven true , at most what you think
about the world can be proven false . The box may print out prime
numbers for 1000 years . So , you can assume it only prints prime
numbers . But then you see a composite number . And you're never
allowed to open the box .

Why this asymmetry? Never to prove, only to disprove . That is the
burden of falsifiability . Anything certain is non-falsifiable, by
definition . Certainty gives meaning , falsifiability erodes it. .

What it means is that my theory that 'All apples will turn violet
tomorrow' is not disprovable until tomorrow .
And my theory that 'All apples will at one time turn violet' is newer
disprovable .

In themselves, all models (guesses?) of the world will be
mathematical . Thus , relative only to themselves , being grounded in
the certainty of Mathematics, they will be true . Newtonian Gravity is
and remains a self-consistent theory, and can be simulated to great
extent , it just produces result incompatible with the the empirical
observations of the World . Thus , if we are to assume that the World
works somehow (already a heresy , a complete correct theory should not
be falsifiable ) , then Newtonian Gravity is not how the World
works .

Rather than attempting to extent falsifiability to Mathematics , we
should attempt to extent the adamant principles of Mathematics to the
World, thus freeing it from falsifiability . The pythagoreans knew
things scientists do not , namely , that the World is rational, and
the harmony between man as Microcosm and the world as Macrocosms (as
above ,so below , as within, so without ... know thyself...) .

Numbers are the bedrock of certainty . Here ,falsifiability can and
must stop . There are an infinite 'number' of numbers , (empiricism
and falsifiability are limited by finite observation ) , yet they
are all uniquely determined as individuals and as a whole.
Godel's theorem is incompatible with falsifiability , but that is not
an argument for its falseness , rather, a necessary condition for it
to be true . Indeed , what is mathematics (set theory excluded) is
compatible with falsifiability?

Is the fact that there are five regular polyhedra compatible with
falsifiability? That there are an infinite number of primes ? (Euclid
would be devastated ) That no cubed non-zero integer can be written
as the sum of two other cubed non-zero integers?

I share part of you aversion to set theory , but for entirely
different reasons . Forgive me if my tone seemed attaching, I often
seem outspoken ... Now that I've exposed more of my viewpoint, I
would like to hear more of yours. There's always something new to