> I see the objection to the four color proof here. It
> was undoubtedly a valid formal proof. However it did
> nothing to advance the cause of mathematics beyond
Many of the sub-proofs, proofs of the sub-problems into which the 4CT was
divided, actually did advance the cause of mathematics.
> Mathematics is not some Platonian ideal
> divorced from humanity, painting, poetry ... It is a
> human endeavor to meet human needs.
I like that last sentence.
> [log in to unmask] wrote:
> > In a message dated 3/12/01 6:21:53 PM Eastern
> > Standard Time,
> > [log in to unmask] writes:
> > > I'm of course exaggerating ... . Theory is nothing
> > to gloss over and can be
> > > very very useful, elegant and quick. But it's a
> > theory, and theories have a
> > > history of being overturned in practice. People
> > are often blinded by the
> > > beauty of an elegant theory, but often the real
> > test for a theory is when
> > > we apply them to the world; that's usually where
> > things start going wrong.
> > > And therefore I think there is definitely
> > something to say for being able
> > > to prove something 'uitputtend' as we say in
> > Dutch, exhaustive. It's not
> > > always necessary, it's not always elegant, but
> > it's rock solid. You also
> > > often really need it when applying a theory to the
> > world, because when you
> > > use a theory in practice you also have an impure
> > domain to cover; practical
> > >
> > You better get caught up on Wittgenstein or Benjamin
> > Whorf, because you're
> > saying things that don't make any sense. What's
> > "rock solid" about examining
> > every person in the world to discover, say, that
> > nobody in the world has an
> > s-shaped scar on their left shoulder? What is that
> > supposed to "prove" about
> > whether there ever was such a person in the past or
> > might be in the future?
> > p
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