Friday, August 19, 2005

Friday August 19, 2005

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: — m759 @ 2:00 PM

Mathematics and Narrative

"There is a pleasantly discursive treatment of Pontius Pilate's unanswered question 'What is truth?'"

H. S. M. Coxeter, 1987, introduction to Richard J. Trudeau's remarks on the "Story Theory" of truth as opposed to  the "Diamond Theory" of truth " in The Non-Euclidean Revolution

"I had an epiphany: I thought 'Oh my God, this is it! People are talking about elliptic curves and of course they think they are talking mathematics. But are they really? Or are they talking about stories?'"

An organizer of last month's "Mathematics and Narrative" conference

"A new epistemology is emerging to replace the Diamond Theory of truth. I will call it the 'Story Theory' of truth: There are no diamonds. People make up stories about what they experience. Stories that catch on are called 'true.' The Story Theory of truth is itself a story that is catching on. It is being told and retold, with increasing frequency, by thinkers of many stripes*…."

Richard J. Trudeau in The Non-Euclidean Revolution

"'Deniers' of truth… insist that each of us is trapped in his own point of view; we make up stories about the world and, in an exercise of power, try to impose them on others."

— Jim Holt in this week's New Yorker magazine.  Click on the box below.

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* Many stripes

   "What disciplines were represented at the meeting?"
   "Apart from historians, you mean? Oh, many: writers, artists, philosophers, semioticians, cognitive psychologists – you name it."


An organizer of last month's "Mathematics and Narrative" conference

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