Date: Mar 25, 2013 10:53 PM
Author: fom
Subject: Re: Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought

On 3/25/2013 9:01 PM, david petry wrote:
> On Monday, March 25, 2013 1:42:27 PM UTC-7, fom wrote:

>> Frege once characterized the empty set as a "forest without trees".
>> Modern mereology follows Lesniewski in denying the existence of
>> an empty set.

>> Shall these be accepted as arguments to ban speaking of zero?
> Mathematics can be thought of as a conceptual framework for
> reasoning about the real world. You would have trouble convincing
> me that "zero" is not an essential concept within that conceptual framework

I have no difficulties with my own or anyone else's philosophy
of mathematics. I have no intention of trying to change your

I observe, however, that Western European culture had
pursued science prior to the introduction of zero. I
am fairly certain that the classic civilizations did
not have zero.

So, you must have a different understanding of the
term 'essential' than do I.

But, I am more interested in your statement that "mathematics
can be thought of as a conceptual framework".

Is mathematics a conceptual framework?

If it may only be thought of as such then what
alternative shall we propose concerning the nature of
what it is?


>> Even if Cantor viewed his own conception in terms of
>> realism, why do you presume that this is required of
>> everyone else?

> Ockham's razor. Keep it simple. Yada, yada.

That really does not seem to answer my question. You
seem to presume for everyone else. In any case, at
least one account of Ockham's razor seems to suggest
that you use it a little differently from its namesake,