[FOM] CH and mathematics

Bill Taylor W.Taylor at math.canterbury.ac.nz
Sat Jan 19 23:05:08 EST 2008

JS wrote:

->I don't see why our inability to know something should cast any doubt 
->on its definiteness. That's epistemological arrogance.


->We'll very likely never know whether the googolplexth decimal digit of 
->pi is even or odd; does that cast doubt on its definiteness?

Peeeep!   Foul!   10 yards please.

That example is very far from similar.  In the digits of pi example,
we may never know the answer, but we already know a simple algorithm
that will find the answer, given sufficient "time".  For most mathies
that is virtually equivalent to knowing the answer.

In the CH example, though, we (at present), haven't the faintest idea
of how to go about finding the answer (if there is one).

This is a far more serious epistemological concern, and is a kind of
evidence that the question *has* no real answer.  (Absence of evidence
being evidence of absence, whatever the law courts may say.)
Of course evidence is a long way from proof or a convincing argument.

So Joe, could you come up with another, perhaps more fittingly analagous
example, I wonder?   I can't think of one off-hand.

Bill Taylor

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