linguistic & mathematics
Dominique.Thillaud
thillaud at UNICE.FR
Sun Jan 18 18:57:54 UTC 1998
Dear Mr Subrahmanya,
Being a mathematician and a linguist, I can't agree with your
arguments. Strictly speaking, there is no proof in mathematics. We give
usually this name to a sequence of conventional rewritings, just an
abstract game never going out of the truth if the mathematician don't make
mistakes. The English use of the word "proof" for this task is perhaps
fallacious; In French we don't use more the old "preuve", but
"demonstration" = "showing".
This sort of proof don't exist out of mathematics. All other
sciences, even the physic, use just mathematical models based on an
hypothetic theory of the world and, after a mathematical computing, need an
other sort of "proof": compare the computed result with the observed facts.
And this "proof" is able to invalidate the hypothesis, that's the true
sense of the Latin "excipio probat regulam".
There is an other problem. Some sciences, studying continuous
objects need hard mathematics, usually incomprehensible by non-specialists,
a sort of "secret language", perhaps a mystical one who give them an aura
of mystery and respect. Other ones, studying finite objects having a finite
set of relations (chemistry, linguistic), don't need actually mathematics,
just the colour:
"2 H2 + O2 -> 2 H2O" or "Skr. zravas + Gr. kleos -> IE *klewos".
(I'm not convinced the fuzzy set theory is a powerful tool in
linguistic, I believe that's just a attempt to give some obscurity (hence
seriousness) to simple facts.)
Third and last, chemistry make money, don't linguistic: the late is
not respectable by you and you're able to send us injurious words. With
impunity. You don't say from where you're talking and I suppose Subrahmanya
to be a proud pseudonym.
That's your right to dislike the linguistic and to prefer your own
intuition helped by a divine inspiration. But the sciences have nothing to
do with your attacks. Sorry, Lars, that's not strange to find Jacob in
"your" camp, because there is just ONE camp! I make the same job when I'm
studying philology or computing languages theory (who is highly
mathematical), I'm just trying to understand.
Regards,
Dominique
Dominique THILLAUD
Universite' de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France
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