FOM: Re: Arbitrary Objects
silver_1 at mindspring.com
Wed Jan 30 16:52:33 EST 2002
> Charlie Silver says:
> >It's difficult for me to
> >believe that an answer to what arbitrary objects are is just to say
> >'arbitrary' is not an adjective. If not an adjective, what is it?
> A part of the phrase "an arbitrary object". "Let x be an arbitrary
> real number..." has the same meaning as "Let x be any number...". When
> asked to "press any key", Homer Simpson asked "Where is any key?", and
> the present conundrum is rather similar!
> >mathematicians *use* arbitrary objects constantly, it seems to me there
> >should be some well-developed and clearly understood account of them.
> Mathematicians use arbitrary objects the way we press any key.
This makes sense (and is in accord with Harvey saying 'arbitrary' isn't
an adjective here), but I want to think it over a bit.
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