[FOM] Gabriel's ruminations
Martin Davis
martin at eipye.com
Tue Apr 18 14:40:20 EDT 2006
Gabriel Stolzenberg has favored FOM with his ruminations which frequently
take a subjective turn. He assures us that he can be in one of two clearly
distinct states or "mindsets" when thinking mathematically: classical and
constructive. We who haven't had this experience should just accept
Gabriel's assurance. We can't know until we experience it ourselves. This
does remind one of things one is more likely to hear in a Church sermon
than in a Mathematics colloquium talk - but no matter.
On the other hand he's quite unaccepting of other's subjectivity insisting
on explicit explanations of just when a number theorist will find a bound
interesting and even more asking for the "reason" why a particular result
is of interest. Of course this is not only highly subjective, it varies
greatly from one mathematician to another, which is as it should be. My
good friend may be overjoyed to manage to improve an n log n to n (loglog
n)^3.7 while I wonder why he cares.
In addition to insisting on the validity of his own subjective categories,
Gabriel feels free to objectivize the subjective remarks of others. Thus he
says:
"Harvey believes that, at least for bounds and algorithms, increased
knowledge, no matter what, is desirable."
No matter what? What does this even mean? But in any case, of course Harvey
believes no such thing.
Martin
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