FOM: social construction?

Vaughan Pratt pratt at cs.Stanford.EDU
Fri Mar 20 14:49:19 EST 1998

From: <wtait at>
>If the entire membership of AMS emailed in stating that there are only 
>finitely many prime numbers, I would be shocked that so many people had 
>gone mad all at once, not that an arithmetic truth had become false.

I think my reaction would be less shock than extreme loneliness and
perhaps even eventual capitulation (hard to imagine though).  Ionescu's
"Rhinoceros" is about this idea, with transformation into a rhinoceros
in place of belief in finitude of primes.  Near the end the narrator's
closest friends succumb, and finally so does the narrator.

Vaughan Pratt

More information about the FOM mailing list