[FOM] "choice of concepts"
Monroe Eskew
meskew at math.uci.edu
Tue Aug 3 17:24:19 EDT 2010
Vaughan Pratt claimed that theology differs from mathematics mainly in
the choice of concepts:
"I would think the essential difference is in the choice of concepts.
Whereas mathematics is about the sorts of abstractions that arise in
geometry, analysis, and combinatorics, theology is more about divinity
and spirituality."
More broadly, does it make sense to say something is just like
mathematics except that it focuses on different concepts? There is no
prior restriction on the kind of "concepts" one can treat
mathematically. For instance, one can list statements regarding any
subject, have those statements contain words like "divinity", "God",
"spirits", etc., code them as faithfully as possible into FOL (for
example) and study models of the statements. Then we are doing
mathematics. We can also note the broad range of topics and concepts
studied under the heading "mathematics." Thus I contend, studying
different concepts using the methods of mathematics, is still
mathematics.
Monroe
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