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Re: [PrimeNumbers] Primes and I

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  • Yves Gallot
    ... Not to human intellect. We know today that the chimpanzee is able to compute basic operations and has the knowledge of small numbers. I would not be
    Message 1 of 32 , Feb 1, 2002
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      > It is time to reign in the imagination. Numbers are
      > `out there' but only in relation to the human intellect.
      > [...]

      Not to human intellect. We know today that the chimpanzee is able to compute
      basic operations and has the knowledge of small numbers. I would not be
      surprised if my cats have also a representation of the number 2 in their
      mind. The number is a step in (known) intelligent life, and we are not the
      only animal that already have the knowledge of numbers.

      There are also some people who don't know what a number is and are not able
      to compute basic operations. I read a paper about it... I may be able to
      find it for people who are interested and read French. Often, it is because
      of a tumour that was removed. They are able to compute simple operations
      with their memory but cannot estimate or "see" the result of the operation.
      For example, a guy explained that to compute 5-2, he should use his memory
      to think on one hand that the successor of 2 is 3, the successor of 3 is 4,
      ... and on the other hand (and simultaneously!) that the successor of 0 is
      1, of 1 is 2, ... It was observed that the part of the brain that is
      activated when we compute is never activated for him. Surprisingly, it was
      not a real problem for this guy who is a psychologist and learnt to live
      without numbers. Then I am not sure that we can say that numbers are needed
      for intellect.

      To me point many 'philosophies' about numbers are just an old fashion point
      of view of the world. You cannot speak about philosophy today and ignore
      neurobiology and neuroscience. Science totally changed philosophy during the
      20th century. Of course, they are still people who don't know anything about
      science and continue to write some books of 'philosophy', but there are also
      some people who continue to think that their life depends on the position of
      planets!

      I don't think that we can today consider that it is possible to know
      anything about the 'reality' independently of our mind. We only know the
      reality through the filter of our mind. The faith is the fact to think that
      you know something about reality independently of your mind. Someone who
      thinks that numbers exits independently of his mind has the faith of
      numbers. This may be sociologically and historically interesting, but it has
      nothing to do with philosophy.

      Paul, it's funny when you say that David Underbakke is Realist: David
      discovered the largest known twin primes, the largest known Sophie Germain
      prime and the largest known prime which is not a Mersenne prime: of course
      he is realist! :o)

      Yves

      Paul, note also that 12345*2^n + 1 is not a GFN form :o(
    • Jud McCranie
      ... According to The Mathematical Experience , by Davis and Hersh, page 334, Russell and Whitehead ... after 362 pages, the arithmetic proposition 1+1=2 is
      Message 32 of 32 , Feb 1, 2002
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        > >
        > > Russell and Whitehead proved that 1+1=2, using only logic.
        >
        >1+1=2 by definition. They proved 2+2=4 though
        >(technically (1+1)+(1+1)=((1+1)+1)+1)


        According to "The Mathematical Experience", by Davis and Hersh, page 334,
        "Russell and Whitehead ... after 362 pages, the arithmetic proposition
        1+1=2 is established." and they show part of that page which says "From
        this proposition it will follow, when arithmetical addition has been
        defined, that 1+1=2."

        +--------------------------------------------------------+
        | Jud McCranie |
        | |
        | ... algorithms are concepts that have existence apart |
        | from any programming language. The word "algorithm" |
        | denotes an abstract method of computing some output |
        | from some input ... -- Donald Knuth, CACM, 1966 |
        +--------------------------------------------------------+
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