FOM: quasi-empiricism and anti-foundationalism
Stephen G Simpson
simpson at math.psu.edu
Tue Sep 15 10:31:22 EDT 1998
This is a response to Reuben Hersh's clarification of what he means by
"foundationalism". The clarification is not very clear.
Hersh 12 Sep 1998 18:06:45 writes:
> That's what foundationalism is--the demand for a secure
> foundation to make mathematics indubitable.
You seem to be missing my point.
Your original point in 11 Sep 1998 13:22:13 was that, according to
you, there is a historical consensus against indubitability. I
replied in 12 Sep 1998 10:57:25 that, on the contrary, there is
actually a massive consensus in favor of indubitability,
i.e. mathematical rigor. I elaborated on that reply. You failed to
acknowledge or answer that reply.
Let me ask you again: Do you deny the obvious fact that a large
majority of mathematicians accept and take pride in the current high
standards of rigor (definition-theorem-proof)? And that this
consensus has been in place for most of the 20th century?
If you accept these obvious facts, then how do you square them with
your claim of a consensus against indubitability?
> Left wing politics, in my meaning, is politics that increases the
> influence of the bottom rung, the lower class, of any particular
> society. In the U.S., for example, both the 14th and the 20th
> amendments to the Constitution would be classified as left wing.
> Perhaps you'll be kind enough to tell the list whether you would
> have suupported either if you been around at the time. Maybe you
> would, if it had included a clause outlawing taxes on upper income
Since political discussions are out of bounds on the FOM list, let me
answer you in the following somewhat flippant way.
In order to answer your question, I tried to look up the amendments
that you mentioned, but unfortunately my copy of the U.S. Constitution
doesn't contain them. My copy is in the appendix of a magnificent
book: "A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United
States", by Joseph Story (Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court,
1811-1845), Regnery Gateway edition, 1986, 401 pages.
All right, so I may be behind the times in politics!
Nevertheless, I'm up to date in f.o.m.
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