Monthly Archives: September 2008

If you were a set

Amazon’s algorithm for telling you about books they think you might find interesting (given your past purchases) can deliver some amusing results. “Greetings,” they say today, “we’ve noticed that customers who have purchased Classical Recursion Theory: The Theory of Functions … Continue reading

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Mathematics and games

Of course, the trouble with tackling Wittgenstein is you can bogged down so easily and distracted into various kinds of detective work (sometimes I wonder if half the attraction the sage has for some of his less critical fans is … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Logic | 2 Comments

On the irritation of reading Wittgenstein

I’ve got to another sticky point in Parsons’s book (some irritating obscurity), and am a bit stumped to know what to think. But I’ll return to that in due course. In the meantime, one other thing I’ve started doing in … Continue reading

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A while back I posted about trying the OmniFocus ‘task management’ software which implements Getting Things Done type lists. As I said, it’s not that I haven’t tasks to do, and the GTD idea really does work. But, having played … Continue reading

Posted in Geek stuff | 4 Comments

Blackburn vs Polkinghorne

In my post about the LHC, I mentioned John Polkinghorne (that’s the Reverend Professor Sir John Polkingorne to you). He taught me quantum mechanics a long time ago, and he was a terrific lecturer and expositor. Since then, he’s become … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Religion | 1 Comment

Parsons’s Mathematical Thought: Secs 31, 32, Numbers as objects

Chapter 6 of Parsons’s book is titled ‘Numbers as objects’. So: what are the natural numbers, how are they “given” to us, are they objects available to intuition in the kinds of ways suggested in the previous chapter? Sec. 31 … Continue reading

Posted in Math. Thought and Its Objects, Phil. of maths | 1 Comment

LHC: so far, so good …

The BBC reports that start-up runs of the Large Hadron Collider at Cern are going well. That’s great. I do feel pangs though, reading about all this. In a very close possible world, I’d have taken up the offer of … Continue reading

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Burgess reviews Parsons

Luca Incurvati has just pointed out to me that John Burgess has a review of Parsons forthcoming in Philosophia Mathematica, and an electronic pre-print is available here (if your library has a subscription). Burgess is very polite, but reading between … Continue reading

Posted in Math. Thought and Its Objects, Phil. of maths | 2 Comments

The Princeton Companion to Mathematics

I’m really looking forward to getting a copy of the Companion (Tim Gowers has a nice podcast about the project). Looking at the table of contents and the author list, you should certainly order this for your local philosophy library … Continue reading

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Quine’s Mathematical Logic revisited

I recently unpacked a box of old books that I’d stored away in the garage, which included my missing copy of Quine’s Mathematical Logic. I’ve just found myself (re)reading the first part — that’s the initial hundred pages on propositional … Continue reading

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