FOM: hostility toward f.o.m.

Stephen G Simpson simpson at
Tue Jul 21 14:55:50 EDT 1998

Thomas Forster 9 Jul 1998 22:03:01 writes:
 > If you want harder evidence of hostility - of the kind you mention
 > - there's plenty of that too, unfortunately.  

Yes, I think so.  Let's air this a little bit.  For example, in 1990
the math department here at Penn State voted to change its PhD
requirements so as to make it very difficult for PhD students to
specialize in f.o.m.  This was done explicitly in order to "clip the
wings" of f.o.m., which attracts the interest of many new graduate
students.  Have you experienced similar hostile acts?

 > My feeling is that an important source of hostility to set theory
 > arises from mathematicians interpreting the foundational claims of
 > set theory as somehow deconstructing their activity, and nobody
 > likes being deconstructed!

Please define what you mean by "deconstruct".  This vague term
(borrowed from modern literary theory of the politically correct
variety) blurs a lot of important distinctions.  

Do you mean that many mathematicians don't like outsiders to analyze
what they do in terms of general intellectual interest?

This could get really interesting.  It could lead to a general
discussion of the question: What impact does f.o.m. have on

-- Steve

More information about the FOM mailing list