Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mathematical Philosoraptors

Greetings, everyone!

Today in class, we mainly talked about Bertrand Russel and Alfred Jules Ayer, as well as touching on Ramsey and Sachs, the latter being portrayed in a movie by Robin Williams, which seems like something I should see, because I usually enjoy his movies.

In our group discussion, we opted to stay inside instead of wandering about outside. This left us being the only group left in the classroom, so Dr. Oliver joined our discussion. I made a remark about how much I was enjoying all of these mathematical philosophers we've been talking about lately, and how I was one of the "other guys" as Dr. Oliver remarked that enjoys some of the notions that Russel was making about logical philosophy and thinking, his work on Set Theory, and how his biggest contribution (in my opinion) was that he brought our logical thinking down to its most basic form so that we would not take statements for granted. Once I made those statements, the whole discussion seemed to center around that, as it appeared we had all fallen down that rabbit hole and there was no going back.

(I also made mention that I believe that math can be beautiful, but seeing as I could feel the eyes roll, I guess we'll just not talk about that.)

As my link, here is a video about the Fibonacci number/sequence, which is sometimes better known to be part of the Golden Mean. It's 6 minutes long, but I believe well worth your time, because knowledge is power. And John, I believe this might be of special interest to you, due to our discussion about using math do describe abstract things such as beauty. The Golden Mean, based on Fibonacci's sequence, appears in many things throughout our world and even our universe, such as the spiral of seeds in a flower, the structure of a nautilus shell, the bronchi in our lungs, shape of our galaxy, and most notably used in Greek architecture because they believed it to be the most visually appeasing structure. All based on math.

Seeing as you all are probably tired of listening to me go on about math, I guess I'll shut up now.

So with that, I hope you all have a great couple of days, and I'll see you all on Wednesday!


  1. Nathan, that may have been the greatest thing I have ever watched. It was poignantly beautiful and expressed the real Truth about the natural world that can only be explained by supernatural intervention. The fingerprint metaphor at the end was one of the most wonderful and logical proofs for the existence of God that I have ever heard. Thank you so much for posting this! You have just reaffirmed my faith tenfold.

    Also, I feel that concepts like Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Ratio are perfect ways to use mathematics to talk about ideals and abstract concepts such as Truth, Beauty, and Love. In order to translate, all we need is something that can link the two topics, and the concepts discussed in the video can do just that. As a knowledgeable fraternity man, I love Sacred Geometry, and I would learn more about how we can use mathematics to discuss the deeper ideals that are prevalent in the world.

    Anyway, I should move on to the readings for today. I will admit that although I do not like existentialism, Mary Warnock had some very interesting things to say about Sartre and his existentialism that I did enjoy. This in particular:

    "...what he did, historically, was to open our eyes to the fact that moral philosophy could be an exciting and totally relevant subject, involved not only in intellectual questions but in emotional questions as well... [he] thought you couldn't separate the intellect from the emotions..."

    This moral philosophy is I think that Stoicism (which I see as almost the perfect philosophy) needs to make it perfect. If Stoic pragmatism, or pragmatic Stoicism, was combined with this type of moral philosophy, I think the world would have a very meaningful and practical philosophy in which to unite and live together in harmony. I know this has been my own personal philosophy (what I deem "pragmatic Christian Stoicism") and I will continue to develop this world view as I learn more about philosophy, religion, and politics (my own version of man's intellectual trinity).

    FQ (PB pg. 225): Which philosopher discussed the notion of bad faith?
    ANSWER: Jean-Paul Sartre

    DQ: Do you agree with Sartre's rejection of Descartes' mind-body dualism? Why or why not? Do you agree with Sartre's moral philosophy? Why or why not?

    1. Oops! I forgot my link!

      Here it is - "Man Makes Himself" by Jean-Paul Sartre: http://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/articles/sartre-a.pdf

  2. I personally enjoy reading about existentialism and spent a lot of time in literature reading works with existentialist writers. One of my favorite works is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, which was debuted at the Fringe festival in 1966.

    FQ: (LH p 196) What philosopher and his lover described their relationship as 'essential' while all others are 'contingent'? Jean-Paul Sartre

    DQ: (LH) Do you agree with Sartre's idea that we are completely responsible for what we do every day, including how we feel? if something saddens you, do you personally believe that it is your choice (and yours alone) to be sad?

    Link: this is he play that my theatre group performed in the fringe festival in 2011. Pretty great experience. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rivals

  3. I personally felt more than a little out of depth with our last group discussion. Language has always been far preferable to math. Numbers just don't speak to me the way words do...See what I did there?.. But anyway, it was fantastic to see such passion for a subject. Passion seems to be lacking in our generation, and a general indifference pervades.

    FQ (LH pg. 198) What French philosopher claims we are "condemned to be free?"

    DQ: Sartre believes that human life is full of anguish, and that we are a useless passion without our choices. Do you believe our choices are the only thing that gives us purpose?

    Link is a quote by Jean-Paul Sartre that I found rather interesting, because it wasn't what I was expecting to find: "If I became a philosopher, if I have so keenly sought this fame for which I am still waiting, it's all been to seduce women basically."

  4. I'm with Avery on this one. I deffiently don't do well with numbers which explains the C in calculus. although there are a lot of letters (variables) in calc. Odd.

    FQ:Where did Fussel earn his PH.D? A:Harvard (AP 269)

    DQ:Do you think Hugh Hefner could be considered a philosopher? Was his "Playboy Philosophy" an actual set of beliefs that he could argue?

    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHlZxL9sucg

  5. FQ: Who was the subject of Playboy's first centerfold? Marilyn Monroe (...well it WAS in the book, after all.)
    DQ: Fussell wrote that "when you get all sincere and pretentious and full of self-importance and proselytize to convey your unique wisdom to an inattentive world...And when you go that to make money, you are so BAD that you may go to hell.."
    Seems like a good idea to me. Unfortunately it seems like preaching it to anyone in order to gather up a like-minded group with torches and pitchforks seem to run counter to the argument. Can there be any middle ground or do I just have to sit here smug and self-satisfied all by myself?

    I had a great time in class Monday discussing mathematics, language, and beauty with our group and Dr. Oliver. I acquired a copy of Logicomix that night, and intending to skim through it, ended up reading the whole thing in a couple of hours. I was fascinated with Russell as a character. His philosophy of the foundations of mathematics was very interesting, but his passion for finding it is what really impressed me. While Russell, in his search for the foundation, was asking himself (basically) "Why does 1+1=2 every time, and how can we prove it?" I found myself asking "Why stop there? Why assume that it's true and has a proof?" You can imagine my surprise when at the end of the book, Godel proves that it (Russell's hypothesis) is NOT provable in his "incompleteness theorem".

    I'm glad, for my own benefit, that Godel already worked that out. Otherwise I might have to actually think about it for my self, right? And math is hard. Ain't nobody got time for that.

    language, pardox, etc.

  6. FQ (LH)- Which term came from the idea that we find ourselves first of all existing in the world, and then have to decide what we will make of our lives? Also used to describe Sartre's philosophy.

    DQ (LH)- Simone de Beauvoir claimed that women are not born women; they become women and they tend to accept men's view of what a woman is. In our society today, do you find this statement to be true?

    As always I was completely lost by our discussion on last class. I've never been good at math, never understood it. I think someone came up with algebra just to torture us.

    The book didn't really talk much about de Beauvoir so I found some more info on her philosophy