[Wittrs] What is a mathematician?
kirby.urner at gmail.com
Thu Aug 11 03:23:42 CDT 2011
I've continued my theme of tightening the linguistic
turn by turning on English in particular, the language
I know best.
My working assumption is the most viable cultures
are the ones the value their own counter-cultures
i.e. they contain the seeds of their own undoing, the
better to keep morphing and adapting.
As the yogi types say, you need to administer ego death
from within, psychologically speaking.
If others do it to you, this is perceived as an attack
(like the timing won't be right), which makes the ego
the victim, which is its *raison d'être *in the first place,
so this just entrenches it further.
Wittgenstein helps us appreciate the idea that words
have spin, like charged particles, and are affected,
meaning-wise, by the fields in which they occur.
I'm not talking about physical phenomena, but then
maybe I am, as words placed in physical proximity
according to various rhythms and patterns is what
schoolish grammar (vs investigating philo) is all
about, and these physical patches of text are
"meaning fields" in that sense.
Billboard advertising: a kind of language game.
So what is a mathematician?
Do you think of some Tarzania type, some girl scout
climbing through the jungle, armed with GPS, survival
gear, highly trained in the art of omnitriangulation?
Of course you don't, not if you think in English.
Those aren't the images associated with "mathematician"
"Tarzania" isn't even an English word.
Over on mathfuture, I have another Real World
Math thread. Students get to ponder an actual
social institution, one designed to intercept food
waste on an urban scale and revector it to small
dinner parties, many of them open to the public.
Charitable institutions become involved, seeing
this effort as aligned with their own mission
statements (yes, we're talking churches, other
religious establishments, but why not schools
of engineering and urban studies just as well?).
There's lots of math going on, and a need for
simulations. Object oriented programming
might enter into the open courseware (the work / study).
So is any of this philosophy then?
Pioneering new social networking tools, begetting
new practices, garnering feedback, running tests...
sounds like an investigation of some kind.
Yes, bike trailers are involved.
You say those aren't part of language? How are they not?
Where does language end and not-language begin?
We have conventions about that, but does nature obey them?
Do I? Should I? English has its built in fallacies (so
many of them, everywhere you turn).
Stay suspicious, not superstitious.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Wittrs