[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus
not sure if "Western civilization prioritizes (and then
mathematizes) social relations described in the Arabic wisdom"
is a fair statement. but mathematical models are just models,
and do not absolve the user of the need to think critically.
now i get sceptical even of my own example of -2 × -3. in
real life (esp. in places that do not practice Islamic banking
or follow the Tanakh / Old Testament prohibition on usury),
when you borrow money, banks charge you interest. [hmmmm ...
this sounds like a huge part of the "civilized world".] so
-2 × -3 may not be a good way to cancel a debt incurred by
borrowing $3 two times (2 × -3). the funny thing i never
understand is: when you are in trouble, the banks do not bail
you out. they slap you with more interest charges, late-payment
penalties, lawsuits, eviction notices, ... etc. but when the
banks are in trouble, you bail them out.
i'm pretty sure _this_ aspect of "math" is _merely_ socially
2009/4/30 Eugene Matusov <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
> Dear everybody--
> In response to Mike's profound inquiry of why a minus times a minus is a
> plus, I was thinking that it is a mathematical model of the Arabic wisdom
> that "an enemy of my enemy is my friend." Of course, the latter is not
> always true -- we have plenty of examples when enemy of our enemy is still
> our enemy (or just indifferent) and, thus, for these types of social
> relations, the mathematical model of (-1) x (-1) =1 does not work. Just
> consider, for an example, the relations among the US, Al-Qaida, and Saddam
> The issue for me is why the Western civilization prioritizes (and then
> mathematizes) social relations described in the Arabic wisdom. One answer is
> because "the real world" works according to these social relations (i.e.,
> the social relations is just an example of the truth out there). An
> alternative explanation is that the Western civilization can afford and
> might be even benefit from imposing these social relations on "the real
> world" that by itself is indifferent to any social relations (and thus
> mathematical models). Any other explanations?
> What do you think?
xmca mailing list