FOM: Steve Simpson wanders far afield
Stephen G Simpson
simpson at math.psu.edu
Thu Feb 11 20:16:29 EST 1999
Martin Davis writes:
> > Recently and incredibly, a bunch of academics held a pep rally in
> > defense of Clinton and against impeachment!
>
> For what it's worth, I would happily have attended such a pep
> rally. But whatever has this to do with f.o.m.?
I mentioned the pep rally as a particularly blatant example of the
politicization of science, interpreting `science' broadly to include
all truth-seeking branches of learning. Clinton's lawyers cited these
`constitutional scholars' (actually they were no such thing) on the
floor of the Senate. Have a look at David Horowitz's article
`Postmodern Professors and Partisan Politics', which I cited just
after mentioning the pep rally. I deplore the politicization of
science. Don't you?
In the next paragraph, I tied it directly to f.o.m.:
> Tying this in to f.o.m., I would note that even G"odel's
> incompleteness theorem is often popularly misused by academics and
> others as an argument against reason and science in general, and
> even against particular technologies such as nuclear energy and
> missile defense. This kind of blatant misuse of f.o.m. is an issue
> that I think would be very appropriate for discussion on the FOM
> list.
>
> How to combat the politicization of science? The good guys need to
> speak out ....
What's your opinion of the politicization of G"odel's incompleteness
theorem? I deplore it. I think f.o.m. professionals ought to combat
it. Don't you?
In the first official FOM message, 9 Oct 1997 09:48:42, which
inaugurated the FOM list, I said:
> I am hoping for an exciting and serious discussion of foundations of
> mathematics. Some possible broad topics:
>
> 1. Why are you personally intersted (or uninterested!) in
> foundations of mathematics?
>
> 2. What is foundations of mathematics? What is its role within the
> broad structure of science, philosophy, and culture?
>
> 3. How does foundations of mathematics contribute to pure mathematics?
>
> 4. How does pure mathematics contribute to foundations of mathematics?
>
> 5. What is the relationship between foundations of mathematics
> and applied mathematics?
>
> 6. What is the relationship between foundations of mathematics
> and philosophy of mathematics?
>
> 7. What is the relationship between foundations of mathematics and
> technical work in mathematical logic (model theory, proof theory,
> set theory, recursion theory)?
Martin, do you think the role of f.o.m. `within the broad structure of
science, philosophy, and culture' ought to be declared out of bounds
for the FOM list?
-- Steve
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