[FOM] Unreasonable effectiveness
Timothy Y. Chow
tchow at alum.mit.edu
Sun Nov 3 20:21:07 EST 2013
In light of some of the responses, I think I should state explicitly some
things that I was taking for granted but that may not have been clear to
everyone.
I am not (currently) interested in a general philosophical discussion of
Wigner's thesis. Such a discussion tends to provoke directionless
rambling of a kind that is likely to cause the moderator to shut down the
thread faster than you can say, "Julia Robinson."
Instead, what I am wondering is whether there is an interesting technical
question lurking in the vicinity. Namely, is it possible to write down a
precise mathematical definition of "reasonable effectiveness" and then
test the hypothesis that mathematics is "unreasonably effective"? The
mathematical model will necessarily have to be very much a spherical cow
at first if any non-trivial result is to emerge. But it might still be
interesting. In this regard, Jacques Carette's response has been the most
helpful one so far. (As of this writing, I think Carette's message is
still awaiting moderator attention---Carette copied me separately on his
email---but I'm expecting it to be approved.)
Tim
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