FOM: social construction? wtait at
Thu Mar 19 18:30:17 EST 1998

Martin Davis wrote (19/3)
>I'm suggesting that when
>we say that 7 or sqrt(2) or sqrt(-1) or the real number system "exist" what
>we (as mathematicians) mean (or at least ought to mean) is that we know how
>to determine some of their properties as definite and have good reason to
>think of those we can not decide as definite problems to work on. 
I am with you in spirit, Martin; but I don't think this is what you mean 
to say. You seem to be making the assertion of existence in mathematics 
amount to an assertion about us, what we do or could do---which would 
suit Hersh, if I understand him, but would not suit you, if I understand 
you (in previous communications).

Bill Tait

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