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*To*: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>*Subject*: Re: [xmca] In what sense(s) is mathematics a social construction.?*From*: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>*Date*: Thu, 30 Apr 2009 14:59:17 +1000*Delivered-to*: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu*Domainkey-signature*: a=rsa-sha1; s=2007001; d=ucsd.edu; c=simple; q=dns; b=QzCnTH3xPIGyKAbAS5bowdfHPR5Nz9h0G8Py7JOAujbKPaWdLc7Wifvvvy/JiJj/h 6bEKGQXIUlPCBOpv2wOQQ==*In-reply-to*: <14a6419f0904292135p72c22aadic29ca0de30818459@mail.gmail.com>*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> <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> <49F90605.1040504@mira.net> <14a6419f0904292135p72c22aadic29ca0de30818459@mail.gmail.com>*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)

I am not familiar with all of these theories FK, but let's keep it in the "public domain": If someone had decided that a minus times a minus was a plus, then they could do that, but such an arithmetic would have had little practical use, and sooner or later, most likely sooner, someone would have discovered something (say "negus") which looked very much like a minus in every way except when negus is times by itself it gave a plus. And then everyone would have been learning about negus in school and Mike's granddaughter would be asking him why negus times negus = plus. Famously of course, Riemann discovered his mathematics before Einstein found a use for it, otherwise it may still be rotting in the back room of some library. Does someone (Jay?) know how Einstein found Riemann's paper? On a side note, a lot of people calling on various metaphors to justify -x-=+ have never addressed the question a kid might ask as to why the example given doesn't prove that a - when **added* to a - gives a +. I certainly had kids confront me with that one. It is very easy to skate over the hidden equation of multiplication with intersection and compounding and so on which to a lot of non-mathematicians looks much more like addition. The link between these operations is obviously NOT arbitrary, is it? But nor is it obvious, Andy Ng Foo Keong wrote:

just to throw some spanners in the works to Andy's comments:- Consider (1) the non-Riemannian Geometries (vs Riemannian Geometries), (2) "non-Standard" Analysis (vs Standard Analysis), (3) Henstock/Daniell integration (vs Lebesgue integration) theory. seems like there is still some sense of 'arbitrariness' leading to different mathematicses (sic) instead of one universal mathematics ... !? no? F.K. 2009/4/30 Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>:Ed, I have fretted over this question of whether mathematics is a science of something objective (if so what) or is 'just' a social construction ever since I studied Goedel's famous proof 43 years ago. Answers to this question tend to tell us more about the speaker than the problem I think. But my current thought would be this: All the natural sciences have an object which exists independently of human thought and activity, but all the sciences also create concepts and artefacts and forms of activity which are peculiar to human life. THis is as true of mathematics as it is of physics and chemistry. This does not contradict the fact that mathematics is a social construction. It is a social construction twice over inasmuch as its objects are already artefacts which are themselves tools. But that in no way leads to any kind of arbitrariness in its conclusions and discoveries (as opposed to inventions). But the artefacts we create in order to explore this trange domain of Nature are artefacts, and as someone earlier said, the element of agency persists. Newton and Leibniz's simultaneous discovery (sic) and formulation of the Calculus kind of proves this. Andy

-- ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 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:*"Vera Steiner" <vygotsky@unm.edu>

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

**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>

**[xmca] In what sense(s) is mathematics a social construction.?***From:*Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>

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

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