Can someone explain why despite the fact that every one of these incidents occurs at a unique time and place, each involves a complex history of events and personal decisions leading to its very unlikely outcome, that the death toll on the roads year-on-year is so predictable? See here and here. [more inside]
posted by zaebiz
on Dec 28, 2008 -
I heard about a book that covered philosophical questions at the core of mathematics. This interests me, but I'm really interested because if I remember correctly it used understanding of euler's identity as an example. What was this book?
posted by phrontist
on Jan 6, 2008 -
Philosophy-Filter: In reading a paper about mathematics philosophy I came across a reference to the term "idiotic infinity"; which Hegel used to express the unlimited accumulation of ideas, all of which become equally profound. I'd like to read more of what Hegel said about this idea, but I cannot find the term in use anywhere. Does anyone familiar with Hegel know where in his enormous corpus I might find the discussion of the "idiotic infinity"? There is also the off-chance that the math paper reference was wrong, and the term might have originated with another philosopher entirely.
posted by archae
on May 20, 2006 -
I've been fascinated for a while by actions that we can take simply by saying that we're taking them. I recently found out these are called "performative utterances"; the classic examples are firing someone by saying "You're fired", or getting married by saying "I do (take him/her to be my...)". These things pop up all the time in mathematics (in fact one might say that mathematics consists almost entirely of such statements). What are some other arenas where they arise naturally? Are there other parts of life that are almost completely performative in this sense? Any favorite examples? [more inside]
posted by gleuschk
on Mar 13, 2005 -