By H. J. M. Bos (auth.), Robert S. Cohen, John J. Stachel, Marx W. Wartofsky (eds.)
It is becoming that Professor Dirk Jan Struik be greeted with this melange of mathematical, medical, ancient, sociological and political essays. The authors also are effectively various: diversified nations, outlooks, religions, generations, and we believe - after all we didn't as- diversified politics too. Many extra could have joined us, we all know, however the stable pals during this e-book make a superb and consultant meeting of the intersection of 2 (mathematical!) sessions: affectionately appreciate ful admirers of Dirk Struik, and the easiest thinkers of this afflicted century. Struik has been one of the so much steadfast supporters of the Boston Colloquium for the Philosophy of technology, that dialogue crew which we've been maintaining at Boston college given that 1960, yet his luminous collaboration has been welcome, in Boston and Cambridge, for almost 5 a long time between mathematicians, physicists, philosophical and political thinkers, and particularly one of the scholars. It has no longer mattered whether or not they were his personal scholars or now not, no matter if at M.LT. or in other places, even if students or dropouts, nature-lovers or e-book worms, anarchists or Republicans, Catholics or Unitarians, Communists or communists, prim or liberated. doubtless he has his personal tastes! however the major factor for Struik has been to coach and recognize the opposite person.
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Extra resources for For Dirk Struik: Scientific, Historical and Political Essays in Honor of Dirk J. Struik
Why do mathematicians persist in this error which was comparatively early overcome in common language? Let me not be so harsh as to accuse generations of mathematicians of stubbord stupidity. They felt they had sources of certainty about their theorems which were not available for every flight of fancy; and they felt that the noun 'triangle' had more in common, as to definiteness and concreteness, with a noun like 'chair' than with nouns like 'angel' or 'justice'. They were surely right. The problem of reality of referents of words of common language does not arise only for 'abstract' nouns, but also for generic nouns which clearly have objectively existing referents.
Can we pass judgement on the advantageous and disadvantageous side effects of this process of transition? I will confine myself to raising these questions. This is not only for lack of time, but also because I do not know the answers; I could only give you more illustrations of these processes. And after all I did not promise you more than to raise questions which fascinate me and which I consider genuinely historical questions. I hope to have convinced you that the study of these questions is necessary for the understanding of the mathematics of the period under consideration.
12 The known preference of middle-aged scientists for the problems and methods of their youth is one source of this conservatism, but there are healthier ones. The nineteenth century had not only produced complex function theory and admired it, but also done things with it. Classical analysis had been subjected to the test of consistency in use (a very different matter from consistency proof). It had been subjected to the test of service to a verifiable physical theory - even the test of transferrability to a newer physical theory.