Math and philosophy
Name: louis d woodall
Date: Around 1995
I am helping a disabled woman who needs to complete algebra for her degree.
She seems to have a mental block against being able to learn mathematics,
but does extremely well in philosophy. How may I present mathematics to her
as just another branch of philosophy?
Well the traditional approach to mathematical philosophy or the philosophy
of mathematics has been to use "logic" as the basis of everything, and in
particular Boolean algebra. I cannot say this is a very appetizing way to
go though, but maybe her ability in philosophy will enable her to very
quickly understand what Boolean algebra is all about and gain confidence in
being able to do other things in mathematics as well. The old truth tables
etc. or complex logic problems such as in some of Raymond Smullyan's books
might be fun exercises.
Once a person realizes that mathematics is mostly based on logically and
exceedingly carefully going from one set of ideas to another, they probably
should be in the right frame of mind to do just about anything.
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Update: June 2012