FOM: Shipman, chess

Reuben Hersh rhersh at
Sun Jan 25 10:43:33 EST 1998

Dear Dr. Shipman,

On reflection, I have concluded that, as you thought, adding arithmetic
to the definition of math is not the answer to your criticism.

Rather, I think it is necessary to acknowledge the possibility of math-like
subjects such as chess.

Demarcating chess from math, I think, is best left to chess sharks like you.

So I would now say that reproducibility (consistency) and
high consensus serve to distinguish math and math-like subjects from other
humanistic studies.

I repeat, this is not to claim that this suggestion is anything like 
a complete or conclusive account of mathematics.

Again, I recommend the Nature of Mathematical Knowledge, Philip Kitcher,
as an impressive attack on that problem, from the naturalist or
empiricist point of view.

All the best,

Reuben Hersh

More information about the FOM mailing list