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Topic: Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought
Replies: 4   Last Post: Mar 28, 2013 3:45 PM

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Frederick Williams

Posts: 2,164
Registered: 10/4/10
Re: Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought
Posted: Mar 28, 2013 3:45 PM
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fom wrote:
> On 3/28/2013 11:11 AM, Frederick Williams wrote:

> > fom wrote:
> >

> >>>
> >>> It's a curious thing, one might think that numbers are man made, and yet
> >>> they have an uncanny applicability to the world.
> >>>

> >>
> >> To the extent that the empirical testing of non-primate
> >> animals on this subject is meaningful, number-sense appears
> >> to have greater scope than mankind. Every now and then some
> >> small article to that effect appears in Science News or
> >> Scientific American. All of the claims involve counts less
> >> than 10.

> >
> > I stand corrected.
> >

> Corrected? I thought I had been supporting the
> 'uncanny applicability to the world' phrase.
> Does not 'might think' differ from 'thinks'?
> And, does not the use of 'yet' carry the contrastive
> pragmatics of 'but' that is not reflected in the
> formal semantics that treats it as an 'and'?
> :-)

Oh, I thought my claim that one might think that numbers are man made
was brought into doubt by the counting non-primates. If not, then I...
um... stand corrected.

Upon reflection it could be that they are both man-made and also
giraffe-made. (For some values of giraffe.)

As for 'uncanny applicability', I had in mind Wigner's 'Unreasonable
effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences.

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by
this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
Jonathan Swift: Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting

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