Mar 20, 2013

Mathematics and Language 11





For those who may be puzzled by some of this discussion, let me say this:

In the academic world, there is a fair amount of nonsense published. You can do it yourself, in fact. Just go here: http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/ -- a little light editing to insert the buzz-words of your field, plus perhaps a bit of Politically-Correct pieties, and you've got a publishable article!

But no one is actually supposed to take it seriously! The mathematics and science which the naked ape has painfully worked out over the last few hundred years really are the best approach to reality we have so far. And everyone knows it.

No one would want to fly in an airplane designed by people who think that truth is just something socially constructed, probably a reflection of the interests of the dominant hetero-normative white male power structures, blah blah blah. And you can be sure that when the post-modernist nonsense spouters collect their nice paychecks each month, they want them to be calculated according to THE laws of arithmetic, full stop.

But if, in this so often shocking and disappointing world, you need a little light entertainment, do go and read Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science
[http://www.amazon.com/Fashionable-Nonsense-Postmodern-Intellectuals-Science/dp/0312204078/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363703221&sr=8-1&keywords=sokal
]

or
The Sokal Hoax: The Sham that Shook the Academy [http://www.amazon.com/Sokal-Hoax-Sham-Shook-Academy/dp/0803279957/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363703332&sr=1-1&keywords=sokal+hoax ]

It's how a wing of the modern intelligentsia amuse themselves on the taxpayers' dollar. As the late Alan Sokal put it, it's the reaction of a Disappointed Academic Left, who saw all their cherished utopias turn out to be horrible dystopias.

It's mainly confined to those areas of academia, like literary criticism and some corners of so-called "social science", where there really is no objectively-establishable truth, and whoever is the most clever (or obscure) debater is the winner. (For additional amusement, see here: http://denisdutton.com/bad_writing.htm )

I suppose it's better than working for the victory of those dystopias. But actually, I preferred the Old Left which wanted to appropriate not only the productive assets of the bourgeoisie, but also the educational system the bourgeoisie had developed for its own children (which very definitely taught that 1 + 1 = 2, that there was an objective reality, since they owned it) , and which the Old Left wanted to make available to all.

Not a bad aspiration, actually. (I guess there's a connection with Mathematics and Language here, mainly by way of negative examples.) 



@ Doug and others:
I try to response your notions, first before I read the webs you indicated; second, I will then try to learn them.

In my perception, based on my experiences, this is the forum of random people to express the ideas in which, to some extent, they have no strong ground. I found that some of them deliver ideas hypothetically and possibly not meet with a certain academic criteria. One’s utterances can be perceived as rubbish by the others. However, the strength of this forum is the freedom to express. We just take the benefit from this freedom; and learn each other while simultaneously reflect the selves in order to respect others. I admit that it is not easy for adults or powerful peoples to do so.

I feel strange if I then find the people from the sponsorship of freedom to be inconvenient with the situation. If it goes up into the level of impatient and furious realm then there should be a serious problem. The problems should come from the maker. It is very clear that the problem maker should not be the younger or powerless, but the adults or powerful people; because, they who have authority to do so.

It is the business of adults or powerful people to fly the airplane, to go to Mars, to produce sophisticated weapon, to name the stars, or even to buy the Planet. What are their motives trying to involve the kids in their business by teaching them very formal mathematics? The very clear motif is economy and business.

So I think, for many centuries, adults and powerful peoples have been employed their younger generations to achieve their ambitions and self-ego. They never and even not willing to hear the cry of young generation about their difficulties in learning formal mathematics.

You forgot (or may do not understand) the origin and the nature of all kinds of the (mathematics) laws. I suspect that you are not able to answer this question, because you probably only use or dig it up imperfectly. Purposefully I am still keeping this answer; to be hope next may be it can be a puzzle for you. I am not doing entertaining by this notions but trying to exchange that we possibly find something useful for our each younger generations.

Sorry, for 1+ 1 = 2 I found not only objective reality but also subjective reality, contextual reality, intuition reality, psychological reality, anthropological reality, or even spiritual reality. One example, for space intuitively reality 1+1= 2 is not usually true e.g. 1 book + 1 pencil is not equal to 2 books or two pencils. This is still relevant with the relationship between mathematics and language.

1 comment:

  1. Ilma Rizki Nur Afifah
    17709251020
    S2 Pendidikan Matematika A

    In this article, I strongly agree on opinion Mr. Marsigit. Mathematics is not only to deal with a serious problem. Mathematics is not to compete with each other in technology. Mathematics is not just for the money, technology or specific business. Okay, everyone needs mathematics. Mathematics should not be reserved only for people who are experts only. Math is necessary for the little people. Yes, the people around us for example. Math is not to demonstrate the existence in creating sophisticated tools. But how matematic current teaching practices? Lots of learning mathematics that is incompatible with the ability of students. Too subjective if students are given the materials and concepts that are so complicated for her age.
    On the other hand, can be said to be the language of mathematics. But not contextually. However the language of mathematics is different from other languages. We know that 1 + 1 = 2, but we can not conclude that 1 pencil + 1 book = 2 pencil or 2 books. Yeah that's when math concepts needed.

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