[FOM] Pure mathematics and humanity's collective curiosity
blumal at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue Oct 16 03:58:39 EDT 2007
I don't think Quine meant any disparagement, that for example
mathematics with no potential application is not serious work. For
surely he didn't mean to minimalize his life work which he pursued with
great passion. Protagoras the sophist, on the other hand, if I remeber
correctly, asked Socrates how can a serious man as himself devote his
life to matters which are suitable only for the young.
John McCarthy wrote:
>Feng Ye included
>Quine and some philosophers following him called mathematics with no
>potential applications in sciences 'recreational mathematics'
>One might extend that idea to call science without potential
>application to human material prosperity `recreational science'.
>Both ideas are wrong. Pure mathematics and other pure science are
>motivated by the collective curiosity of the human race.
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