[xmca] Re: Math Question

From: Ed Wall (ewall@umich.edu)
Date: Wed Jan 03 2007 - 13:41:57 PST


    By the way, thanks for the John-Steiner references. I just took a
look at some reviews. The one thing that concerns me is that, for
example, Explorations of Thinking seems to focus on the exceptional
where I am interested, I think, in something a bit more prosaic.
However, it does seem like a possible place to start. In any case,
keeping a checkbook is not necessarily a minor mathematical matter
although technology has considerably simplified things.


> 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
>> >sources.
>> >
>> >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.
>> >mike
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