fwd: Re: FOM: Foundationalism

John Mayberry J.P.Mayberry at bristol.ac.uk
Tue Sep 15 03:36:22 EDT 1998

--- Begin Forwarded Message ---
Date: Sun, 13 Sep 1998 15:14:37 -0400 (EDT)
From: Colin Mclarty <cxm7 at po.CWRU.Edu>
Subject: Re: FOM: Foundationalism
Sender: Colin Mclarty <cxm7 at po.CWRU.Edu>
To: J.P.Mayberry at bristol.ac.uk

Reply-To: Colin Mclarty <cxm7 at po.CWRU.Edu>
Message-ID: <199809131914.PAA04556 at caleb.INS.CWRU.Edu>

Reply to message from J.P.Mayberry at bristol.ac.uk of Sun, 13 Sep
>To Colin McLarty's posting: It would be silly to say that Descartes, 
>Newton, and Riemann were not doing mathematics. But it is nevertheless 
>true that standards of rigour in proof and in definition have been 
>enormously sharpened since they did their work.

	This seems to me to sell your idea short. What you earlier
asserted as an obviously correct view of mathematics, turns out 
here just inapplicable to (nearly all) math before Zermelo in 1908.
It doesn't even apply to Analysis textbooks before about 1950.

	Can it be obvious, and yet so recent? And if it is an 
historical claim, then why doesn't the historical existence of
mathematicians like Hersh and Rota refute it? Surely you mean to
offer more than a good description of how, at least arguably, 
most mathematicians have viewed their subject for maybe the 
last 90 years.
--- End Forwarded Message ---

John Mayberry
J.P.Mayberry at bristol.ac.uk

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