FOM: Recanting "Hersh: Today's answer. . ."

Robert Tragesser RTragesser at
Fri Jan 16 08:49:07 EST 1998

        I see that Hersh has strengthened (or
clarified) his notion of reproducibility
so that my recent posting "Hersh: Today's answer"
misses the mark.  I see Hersh as affirming
that there is after all in mathematics something
like (to use a felicitous phrase of Quine's)
"objective pull".
        Davis is dead right that this is not analogous
to "reproducibility" in natural/empirical science.
By I still think  that Hersh should be very much
more careful about the way he draws philosophers
(such as Hume) to his defense.  He  especially mistakes
Rota's "The pernicious influence of mathematics on
philosoiphy."  Rota absolutely would not deny that
in phosilophy one can make sharp distinctions. He certainly
was not giving anyone a blank check for being fuzzy
and handwaving in philosophy. Rota was going after those
philosophers who thought that phgilosophy must
be practiced in the Definition/Satz/Beweis form of
certain ways of doing mathematics. 

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