Genealogy of Specious Dualisms

Curtiss Leung bofftagstumper at
Fri Mar 31 15:00:18 PST 2000

Hi Ted:

> Even if you write it down on a piece of paper,
> an equation is still ideal and eternal, and this is
> what's supposedly governing matter.

Here comes the most horrible sentence of the day. Lexicalists, generative grammarians, Marxists, bourgeois liberals, anarchists, and postmodernists may wish to avert their eyes:

Depends upon the what the equation, independent of its representation, represents, no?


To illustrate what I mean, here's a question about mathematical objects: did the transfinite cardinals (the numbers that describe different orders of infinity) exist before Cantor "discovered" them? Here's another one: did the derivative exist before Newton and Leibniz? What can we make of the fact that infinitesmals weren't a decent foundation for the calculus? Or that with contemporary set theory, we can now *make* infinitesmals that are a decent foundation for calculus?

I don't have answers to these questions either, but for me, they throw a lot of doubt on the proposition that mathematical entities are ideal and eternal.

Waiting now for a torrent of abuse from mathematicians and historians of the same (not to mention the over posting rebuke) -- Curtiss

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