FOM: hostility toward f.o.m.

Stephen G Simpson simpson at
Wed Jul 22 16:42:31 EDT 1998

Thomas Forster writes:
 > Nobody enjoys watching their activity being explained to the world
 > by someone who doesn't do it (or, they think) understand it.
 > ...and that is the position that some mathematicians think they are
 > in vis-a-vis logicians.

Perhaps this explains some of the hostility.  But I don't think it
applies to my own case.  In my math department, I am regarded as a
logician who is mathematically fairly knowledgeable and accomplished.
And I get along reasonably well with most people.  Yet there is
palpable, destructive hostility to f.o.m.  Why?

I think it has something to do with compartmentalization.  I have
observed that many pure mathematicians automatically resent any
subject that is of broad interest.  That is why computer science and
statistics split off from math a long time ago; they couldn't stand
the resentment that they were experiencing in math departments.
Perhaps f.o.m. will eventually follow in those footsteps.

 > Can i continue to use the word `deconstruct' as before - it makes
 > for brevity!

Of course.  From now on, let's agree to use the term "deconstruct" in
the sense that you proposed, i.e. to prattle endlessly about a subject
of which one is ignorant.  A term denoting such activity is certainly
needed, because so much of it goes on nowadays.


-- Steve

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