Monday, May 20, 2013

Closer to Truth

In our last post, we mentioned that we would be pursuing quasi-empirical arguments, again. Wikipedia has a nice write up on the subject, for starters.

The topic is open to discussion; the main theme is why has mathematics been so effective? In fact, it is so effective that people are using it zombie-like (where is this not true today?); and, science and engineering have rested their case strongly on the little thing (see below).

Getting back to quasi-empirical notions deals with reclaiming earlier views (to wit, this category with the label of Effectiveness; we had a similar category in the related blog).


even big T' aspects
I just ran across "Closer to truth" today and wanted to get it brought to the fore. The series deals with leading thinkers talking on a point moderated by Robert Lawrence Kuhn (he does a great job, staying in the background yet keeping the flow going). From the videos that I've watched so far, these are well done, albeit the talkers' biases, and faults, hang out (well, isn't that what video is all about? ever wonder why the talking heads spend so much time before a mirror - modern day manifestations of Narcissus' self-infuation?). Not being critical, but in the case of one well-known, and quoted, intellectual, his verbiage contained words that were self-contradictory. But, extemporaneous speech leads to that (we, that is, those who want to listen, gloss over those little errors in the spirit trying to understand what is being said -- after all, the whole notion of being error-free (as in, ..., infallible?) ought not come into any type of scientific query).

The below link is to a youtube video, but the show has its own site and cache. I noticed that those at the official site have extra frames (youtube is minimally presented) devoted to noise (opinion).


Now, to the crux of the matter. After seeing a lot of interesting videos, one motivated me to post. I'll use this topic in the truth engineering blog, to boot (and FEDaerated - financial mathematics as a sub-type which is more problematic, than not).

What topic? Mathematics as invention or discovery. This is an old question. In one talk, a historian said that when talking to most mathematicians privately, things seemed to go to the latter (ah, the mystery of it all). At the same time, when pushed in a public context, about all of the practitioners with whom he had talked would revert back to the former. This is meant to be cursory, as the topic will come up again.

The talker? Wolfram of Mathematica (the video, skip out to 7:45 for the quasi-empirical portion - or listen to that point to hear the preparatory matters). So, thank you, Stephen (not that I'm backing off of my semi-Platonist leanings; or, I'll just assume that he was talking small "m" mathematics - large "M" Mathematics, as of yet, has not received the proper attention, as discussions thereof border on areas filled with holes). Notice, if you would, his use of circularity (it's obvious to those who look - we'll consider this matter in terms of operational means).

I'll be getting back to this topic, in the the context of computability in the world, and more.


Aside:  The blogs had specific purposes at the outset. But, the crazy world (and idiocy, like finance) got my attention. It was a nice run, the past few years, to look at the mess. But, let's now get back to the real essence; being technically oriented will be one change (albeit quasi - no worry, as the issues at hand are amenable to the understanding of any reasonable adult - or smart non-adult).


05/20/2013 --

Modified: 05/20/2013

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