[xmca] Re: Math Question

From: Ed Wall (ewall@umich.edu)
Date: Tue Jan 02 2007 - 21:16:05 PST


    This may be what I am talking about (I say this with some sureness
since I'm not sure what I'm talking about). Ramanujan refers to the
goddess Namakkal in possibly a like manner. Yes, I know Hersh's
writing. About the most relevant and least readable in this regard is
the thesis of Eric Livingston "An Ethnomathematical Investigation of
the Foundations of Mathematics." He makes the argument that for a
mathematician it must always (my interpretation), in a sense, be this
way. [Hmm, not I think merging as much as reinforcing, but, perhaps,
that is a form of merging] However, I think he would be uncomfortable
with psychological and prefer sociological.


>Hi Ed and everyone,
>What an interesting question. It is true that so many writers and
>artists as well have stated that they felt the ideas they mediate
>cross a line in the creative process where mind and activity and
>object seems to blurr and the work seems to create itself so to
>speak. Michelangelo wrote that his sculptures spoke to him as he
>carved the marble. Sometimes when I am painting, the same
>phenomenon occurs. From a Vygotskian perspective, this experience
>has interesting appeal when considering the inner voice. Vera
>John-Steiner's Notebooks of the Mind and Creative Collaborations
>document this psychological activity.
>To apply it to mathematics is a fascinating question. Being someone
>who can barely balance a checkbook, I am not sure how it would
>apply.......however, I suspect different domains in mathematics
>would reflect variations of this experience as they each depend or
>are derived from various forms of cognitive pluralism. have you
>looked at Reuben Hersh's work?
>M. Cathrene Connery, Ph.D.
>Assistant Professor of Bilingual & TESL Education
>Central Washington University
>>>> Ed Wall <ewall@umich.edu> 01/02/07 5:06 PM >>>
>Mike and all
> This is not quite on the topic (and, thus, I have held back a
>bit), but given the amount of expertise that people are bringin I ask
>a question I have asked elsewhere (I apologize for how it is phrased,
>but something like this was appropriate in that particular community):
>> I had a question and wonder if you might point me in a useful
>>direction(s). The situation is such: It has been argued of late that
>>the work mathematicians do - proof and the such - proceeds within the
>>mathematics being created. That is, without going into a lot of
>>detail, the mathematics one does is both circumscribed and supported
>>by the mathematics one is doing. This is not exactly a matter of
>>prior knowledge or the hermeneutic circle per se although it might
>>have something to do with being an 'expert.'
>> The reason why I am asking is that, the other day in a somewhat
>>philosophic discussion around a novel, a participant noted that some
>>authors describe the authoring process as open-ended in the sense
>>that what finally takes place may differ from what was originally
>>intended. That is, in a certain sense, the writing writes itself. As
>>this sounded somewhat parallel to the phenomenon I mentioned in
>>mathematics, I was wondering if you knew of someone(s) who makes
>>remarks about a similar phenomenon re writing.
>Ed Wall
>>Hi David--
>>There is a LOT of material on the topic of writing systems.
>>Two interesting places to start are:
>>D. Schmandt-Besserat, Before Writing:. U of Texas Press. 1992 (two volumes)
>>R. Harris. The origin of writing. Open Court. 1986.
>>David Olson has written extensively on this topic, primarily from secondary
>>I am unsure of best sources that delve into origins of writing in China
>>which were more or less co-incident with
>>events in Euphrates area.
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