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*To*: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>*Subject*: [xmca] In what sense(s) is mathematics a social construction.?*From*: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>*Date*: Thu, 30 Apr 2009 11:59:33 +1000*Delivered-to*: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu*Domainkey-signature*: a=rsa-sha1; s=2007001; d=ucsd.edu; c=simple; q=dns; b=L2KiLPd5P6WlAt334fpMPeVMsaYJBzr6OH7wmBsOYacbeH7nV5OUIXCCVCHg3r2FD BQQlWIqfQI+9oo+FkJGjg==*In-reply-to*: <FB3532C8-20AA-431C-9492-696F44337D75@umich.edu>*List-archive*: <http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/private/xmca>*List-help*: <mailto:xmca-request@weber.ucsd.edu?subject=help>*List-id*: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca.weber.ucsd.edu>*List-post*: <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>*List-subscribe*: <http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>, <mailto:xmca-request@weber.ucsd.edu?subject=subscribe>*List-unsubscribe*: <http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>, <mailto:xmca-request@weber.ucsd.edu?subject=unsubscribe>*References*: <30364f990904271547o5b4df21eifca69bf8318483f2@mail.gmail.com> <2C46D7A7-AD94-441C-AABD-269045835E3D@umich.edu> <0193A85F-03A7-4811-B912-217722A5770B@uvic.ca> <BDD722EC-3E52-48C1-829B-AD5053D51B78@umich.edu> <2B2B3D4D-462E-4654-8457-A1C4F21B2874@uvic.ca> <49F7DE9B.5050908@mira.net> <14a6419f0904290031g79f0f6aagaaaf6e9a906005b2@mail.gmail.com> <49F8060B.6070401@mira.net> <14a6419f0904290117q6c0e8432xf78fe6d1b3e9012b@mail.gmail.com> <14a6419f0904290922h34790b99o3d43d176dba1ce9d@mail.gmail.com> <00a101c9c90b$55341670$ff9c4350$@edu> <FB3532C8-20AA-431C-9492-696F44337D75@umich.edu>*Reply-to*: ablunden@mira.net, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>*Sender*: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu*User-agent*: Thunderbird 2.0.0.14 (Windows/20080421)

Ed,

Andy Ed Wall wrote:

Actually, I was wondering just the opposite ofThe issue for me is why the Western civilization prioritizes (and then mathematizes) social relations described in the Arabic wisdom.If I look at a number of the intriguing 'rationalizations' Mike'squestion generated, I seem to see a tendency to, in a sense, almostanthropomorphize mathematics (hope that makes sense as I don't quiteknow what the right word is). Social relations don't give rise tomathematics, but mathematics seems to give, perspectivally, a rise tosocial relations. In fact the West goes a step further in prioritizingthe digital over the analogue as your example shows. A number of peoplehave taken this 'mathematizing' (which goes far beyond the problematicof double negations) up in recent years. I think recently of MichaelEldred and Stuart Eden (and, of corse, there is Heidegger and Lachtermanamong others) and Aristotle is very important in this regard as he isdeals with similar questions as regards 'real' and mathematics. It ispossibly worth wondering how the Arabs were contaminated by all this asthey were a major transmitter of Greek mathematics to the West andelsewhere.Ed Wall On Apr 29, 2009, at 4:44 PM, Eugene Matusov wrote: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 notalways true -- we have plenty of examples when enemy of our enemy isstillour enemy (or just indifferent) and, thus, for these types of social relations, the mathematical model of (-1) x (-1) =1 does not work. Justconsider, for an example, the relations among the US, Al-Qaida, andSaddamHussein. The issue for me is why the Western civilization prioritizes (and thenmathematizes) social relations described in the Arabic wisdom. Oneanswer isbecause "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? Eugene-----Original Message----- From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Ng Foo Keong Sent: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 12:23 PM To: ablunden@mira.net; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity Subject: Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus Is Mathematics _merely_ socially constructed, or is there something deeper and inevitable? I think this deserves a new thread, but I couldn't manage to start one. Let me try to draw out and assemble the line of discussion that spun off from the "a minus times a plus" thread. In her inaugural post to xcma, Anna Sfard about talked "rules of the mathematical game" among other things. Then Jay Lemke said:-... I think it's important, however, to see, as Anna emphasizes, that there is a certain "arbitrariness" involved in this, or if you like it better: a freedom of choice. Yes, it's structure-and-agency all over again! Structure determines that some things fit into bigger pictures and some don't, but agency is always at work deciding which pictures, which kind of fit, which structures, etc. And behind that values, and culture, and how we feel about things.----- Then I (Ng Foo Keong) said:-regarding structure and agency, arbitrariness:- i think now it's time for me to pop this question that has been bugging me for some time. i am convinced that mathematics is socially constructured, but i am not so convinced that mathematics is _merely_ socially constructured. if we vary across cultures and different human activities, we might find different ways in which patterns and structure can be expressed and yet we might find commonalities / analogies. the question i am asking is: is maths just a ball game determined by some group of nerds who happen to be in power and dominate the discourse, or is there some invariant, something deeper in maths that can transcend and unite language, culture, activity .... ?Foo Keong, NIE, Singapore ----- Then Ed Wall said:-Ng Foo Keong As regards your question about mathematics being socially constructed, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by mathematics or what kind of evidence would convince you it wasn't. Suppose I said that there was evidence for innate subtizing._______________________________________________ xmca mailing list xmca@weber.ucsd.edu http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 4043 (20090429) __________ The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus. http://www.eset.com__________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virussignaturedatabase 4043 (20090429) __________ The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus. http://www.eset.com _______________________________________________ xmca mailing list xmca@weber.ucsd.edu http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca_______________________________________________ xmca mailing list xmca@weber.ucsd.edu http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca

-- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ Hegel's Logic with a Foreword by Andy Blunden: From Erythrós Press and Media <http://www.erythrospress.com/>. _______________________________________________ xmca mailing list xmca@weber.ucsd.edu http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca

**Follow-Ups**:**Re: [xmca] In what sense(s) is mathematics a social construction.?***From:*Ed Wall <ewall@umich.edu>

**Re: [xmca] In what sense(s) is mathematics a social construction.?***From:*Ng Foo Keong <lefouque@gmail.com>

**References**:**[xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Ed Wall <ewall@umich.edu>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth@uvic.ca>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Ed Wall <ewall@umich.edu>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth@uvic.ca>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Ng Foo Keong <lefouque@gmail.com>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Ng Foo Keong <lefouque@gmail.com>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Ng Foo Keong <lefouque@gmail.com>

**RE: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*"Eugene Matusov" <ematusov@UDel.Edu>

**Re: [xmca] a minus times a plus***From:*Ed Wall <ewall@umich.edu>

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