[FOM] un-isolating fom (response to Tennant and Rodin posts)

Tom Dunion tom.dunion at gmail.com
Tue May 17 01:30:12 EDT 2011

Neil Tennant wrote

>> If a Fields Medallist working in algebraic geometry and homotopy theory
>> is able to give an account of GII at only such an amateurish level, what
> >hope is there for the future of fom in Departments of Mathematics?

to which Andre Rodin replied

>Perhaps this future is not so bright indeed (as far as one sticks to a narrow
>meaning of fom) but I think that at least a part of the problem is that (at
>least a part of) fom community deliberately isolates itself from the rest of
>mathematical community. This is harmful for the fom community at the first

I think Andre is right.  And how might the fom community un-isolate itself?

How about something like this. Don't use something like cardinal invariants
of the continuum to merely concoct "designer reals" faster than a chemistry
student working for a drug dealer might make designer drugs --  rather, ponder
what *cannot* hold for the reals, and what *might* hold true...and then...

If Itamar Pitowski's view of quantum physics "floats your boat" then strap on
your intellectual armor and sword and defend the CH as best you can.

Does Freiling's axiom of symmetry trouble your intuition?  (Keith Devlin was
unashamed to admit as much.)   Contend for not-CH, better yet, pick a value
that a Platonist might like (aleph_2 would do nicely) and make the best case
you can.  (Aren't convinced to use Martin's Axiom in your argument?  Fine,
identify its implications that *can* hold in any event, and make that case.)

In short, consider what man-in-the-street mathematicians (and statisticians,
and physicists) might actually care about, and give them something concrete
to consider.

Tom Dunion

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