[Haskell-cafe] Some philosophy

Jerzy Karczmarczuk jerzy.karczmarczuk at unicaen.fr
Sun Aug 11 02:12:17 CEST 2013

Kim-Ee Yeoh comments my reading suggestion:

>     "Indiscrete Thoughts" by Gian-Carlo Rota, published by Birkhäuser
>     in 1997. Available on the Web. [I forgot where]
> I'm rather fond of Rota's two volumes of musings. For the purpose of 
> furthering the quality of philosophizing, would it not be better 
> served citing the relevant chapters, if not the actual page numbers?
> As you took note, the book covers a swathe of topics.

Shall I also give the line numbers, Kim-Ee? The book of Rota is divided 
into parts and chapters, with titles. It is not so difficult to find 
quickly that something may (or not) interest you. What is a "relevant" 
chapter in a collection of philosophical essays?

You might skip the "biographies" of some mathematicians, with some 
unpleasant fragments, if you are not interested.
I liked a few others.

Part II, Ch. VII: "The Pernicious Influence of Mathematics Upon 
Philosophy" is an inspired attack addressed at the "analytical 
philosophers" who felt really offended!  (This is a reprint from the 
Journal of Metaphysics, published also in the book "18 Unconventional 
Essays on the Nature of Mathematics", Springer, ed. by  Reuben Hersh. I 
also recommend it [also on the Web], it is plenty of serious wisdom, 
although sometimes hard to read.)
This chapter deals with the non-philosophical essence of logic, with the 
"philosophical vacuity" of formal definitions. Very inspiring.

For Rota the question of IDENTITY is more important than that of 
EXISTENCE. The chapter XII: "Syntax, Semantics, and the Problem of the 
Identity of Mathematical Items" (p. 151) begins his presentation of the 
subject, which continues  later. Rota exposes some reasoning based on 
his favourite philosophical topic, the phenomenology, continuing 
previous sections. This may not convince you (e.g. if you are an 
orthodox materialist...), but you might learn something.

The chapter about /Fundierung/ (XV, p. 172) in which Rota fights against 
the reductionism, may give you a headache. But you should survive.

Anyway, /a ciascuno il suo/.

Jerzy K.

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