Sunday, December 27, 2009

Favorite comments of '09: vlorbik on two plus two

Re Postmodern math: does 2 + 2 always = 4, vlorbik writes:

the right answer to
"what is 2+2?"
is of course
"why do you ask?".

unless it's implicit.
a four-year old?
one thing maybe.

somebody testing a piece of computer code?
another maybe.

somebody trying to catch you out
in some pseudophilosophy?
maybe still another.

sure and it's empty to posit that
"properly" defined, correct symbol
manipulation yields correct results.

owen by the way

oh... and by the way...
i was created a doctor
of philosophy [for my
sins] in '92 and have
professed maths.

so here goes an experiment.
these SOB's downtown
have decreed that push
these damnable calculators.
let's see what happens when
i put "2+2=4" [the whole string]
into the command line.
wow. 1.
that means true.

okay. you win this one. sort of.

put it into google then.
let's see.
pretty interesting.
would't call it "true" though.
is google now "not mathematically
well-defined" or some such
weaselword dodge? of course not.
(everybody knows that there are
always *undefined* terms and
other such conventions; this
isn't at all when we're doing math
and seldom when we philosophize).

2+2=5 is the symbol in 1984
of the kind of "truth" that can
only be beaten into you.

mathwarriors split on whether
2+2=4 is of the same type.
i myself do not claim
to know the answer to this.

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