The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418 Message #2029054
Posted By: Amos
18-Apr-07 - 01:09 PM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
The real question about numbers, prime or otherwise, is why they work at all. It seems very counter-intuitive that threeness should alweays be the same amount. It seems very useful, of course, dealing with mechanics and budgets. But given the oscillating nature of particles in and out of existence, and the multiplicity of universes, I really don't see that three (or any other number) of anything is a very accurate statement -- it's a platonic abstraction.
The only way three bicycles are countable together is to ignore their huge array of differences in time, location, shape, color, age, and subatomic interactions and focus ONLY on their abstract similarity by which they fit into the meaning of the term bicycle. It's kind of like tribal-based metaphysics, where everything depends not on who you are but on what line of bllod descent enables you to claim belonging to one or another tribe, with concomitant status or lack thereof.
I think this is why some people are very reluctant to excel at math -- they don't like being force-marched into Platoville and buying into these required generalized forms, and ignoring the concrete, real and substantive distinctions which are so much more important.
In spite of this the numbermongers have already wo0n the battle, and the war, as anyone who keeps a checkbook knows, so I am just singing into the wind. Helas. Here's a toast to poets who won't be corraled into numbering things.