- Leonard Maluf wrote --
>

Leonard,

>In Logic, a self-evident proposition is one in which, once the terms of

>the subject and predicate are understood, the proposition is

>immediately seen to be true, as in the statement "a whole is greater

>than one of its parts".

>

It is clear you are not a mathematician. When I was teaching

mathematics in a state "comprehensive" school three miles from here, a

thirteen-year old boy (Peter "D", from the town of Godmanchester where I

live), pointed out that it is simply not true that "a whole is greater

than one of its parts". In class, we were exploring the idea of negative

numbers using a "number-line" showing positive whole numbers going in

one direction ( +1, +2, +3, +4 ...->>), and negative whole numbers in

the opposite direction (<<-...-4, -3, -2, -1), from a central zero. We

were discussing the key idea that a negative number (however far away

from zero) is smaller than any positive number, this being indicated

under the number-line by an arrow labelled "smaller" pointing in the

direction from positive to negative. Above the number-line, another

arrow labelled "greater", pointed in the opposite direction. Peter

correctly observed that since -3 = -1 + -2, and, since -3 is the

smallest number of these, that therefore the whole (-3) is ***smaller***

than one of its parts (-1).>

I am not surprised, since your criterion does not even fit the example

>I don't see how your original proposition can in any way fit that

>criterion -- for anyone.

>

you give, does it?>

I think your understanding of self-evident is flawed, as indicated by

>The terms of your proposition can be fully understood without the

>slightest approach to an immediate grasp of its truth. If the

>proposition were self-evident to Mathematicians, they would not waste a

>moment of time checking out thousands of even numbers by use of a

>computer, as you describe, to determine whether the statement holds in

>individual cases. This would be as silly as cutting up and checking out

>a million pies in an effort to determine whether it is really true, in

>all cases, that a whole is greater than any of its parts. I doubt that

>even the British are that empirical!

>

the failure of your example to fit the criterion you state. In order to

realize that a statement is self-evident it is essential to recognize

first what paradigm of thought is being used. Mathematicians running a

computer check for thousands of even numbers are not necessarily trying

to determine that the statement given above is true. Using their nous,

they would at the same time have out-putted the pairs of prime numbers

concerned, and the number of these for each even number being

considered, and noticed the progression that, generally, bigger even

numbers have more instances of being the sum of a pair of prime numbers.

Such empirical explorations enable the mathematician to be clearer in

what paradigm of thought the investigation is being carried out. They

are far from being silly. The insight that the statement is self-evident

follows after the paradigm of thought has been identified.

Perhaps an example would help. In traditional Euclidian Geometry, an

axiom is defined as a self-evident statement. One of the Euclidian

axioms is that the shortest distance between two points is a straight

line joining them. However, to take your "Logic" definition of "self-

evident", even if the subject ("the shortest distance between two

points") and the predicate ("is a straight line joining them") is

understood, the proposition is *not* immediately seen to be true. It is

self-evident, but only after considerable reflection and appeal to

experience. To "see" that the axiom is self-evident, we may have to re-

call having to walk round obstacles preventing us following a straight

line path, and realizing that this detour entailed taking a greater

number of paces. We would perhaps have to think for a while what we mean

by a "straight" line. No straight line between two points would be

visible, for instance, because it has no thickness. The whole process is

difficult, in fact. This is because it is not necessarily true at all.

In modern geometries using curved space (rather than Euclidean space),

the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line but a

curved geodesic joining them. (In this country, people playing bowls on

a "crown green", which is a hump with an approximately constant

hyperbolic cross-section, come to learn through experience that the

shortest distance between two points on the surface of the green is not

a straight line joining them, but a curved geodesic path.) What is

"self-evident" depends on the paradigm of thinking we are using. To

recognise that a statement is self-evident we need consciously to

identify our paradigm of assumptions. A self-evidently true statement in

one paradigm (Euclidean space) may be false in another (an alternative

curved-space geometry). It is sloppy thinking to assume that there is

only one paradigm in which it may be determined whether any statement is

self-evidently true.>

In the light of the above, I am not surprised that you are surprised,

>In the light of your careless use of the term "self-evident", I am

>surprised that you question the self-evident character of the

>proposition that "any synoptist redacted his source material in his own

>way".

>

Leonard.>

I am delighted that we do agree on this. I think it is worth stressing

>You are correct that it is not a self-evident proposition

>

that it is in no way self-evident that any synoptist redacted his source

material in his own way. In fact this was the chief point I was trying

to make in reply to an argument to the contrary from someone else who

was the one who introduced the idea of "self-evident" redaction into the

discussion.>

I arrived at the conclusion on the assumption that seeing whether a

>but I'm not sure how you arrive at that conclusion on your own sloppy

>understanding of what a self-evident proposition is.

>

statement is self-evident or not may have to follow considerable

reflection and recognition of the paradigm of thought in which it is

being considered, and that being self-evidently true neither proves that

it is true nor places it beyond being proved true.

Of course, if we posit the Griesbach Hypothesis, life becomes easier. It

is then transparently clear that both Luke and Mark redacted their

source material in their own way. I imagine we would agree on that also.

Maybe the most important task is to posit and justify a synoptic

documentary hypothesis. I would suggest that, in the last resort, how we

understand the redaction procedures of any synoptist, and how we

understand any synoptic gospel, depends to some extent on what synoptic

documentary hypothesis we hold.

Best wishes,

BRIAN WILSON

>HOMEPAGE http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk/

Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK

> "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot

_

> speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".

Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l

List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@... - Brian wrote:

-------------------------------------------------------

When I was teaching mathematics in ... class, we were

exploring the idea of negative numbers using a

"number-line" .... We were discussing the key idea

that a negative number (however far away from zero) is

smaller than any positive number, this being indicated

under the number-line by an arrow labelled "smaller"

pointing in the direction from positive to negative.

Above the number-line, another arrow labelled

"greater", pointed in the opposite direction. Peter

correctly observed that since -3 = -1 + -2, and, since

-3 is the smallest number of these, that therefore the

whole (-3) is ***smaller*** than one of its parts

(-1).

-------------------------------------------------------

The boy was very clever, but there's a sense in which

the number -3 is greater than either of the parts -2

or -1. If -3 signifies the amount of my debt, then my

whole debt is larger than either of the parts -2 or

-1.

Strange things happen with negative numbers, I guess.

The number -3 also has the "parts" -4 and +1. Here,

one part (-4) is -- on your student's reasoning --

smaller and the other (+1) larger.

Perhaps the strangeness can be explained as an

artifact of thinking of abstractions as having parts.

I'm not sure.

If you're interested, I can raise the issue on a

philosophers' listserve that I belong to. The issue

probably has more relevance there.

Jeffery Hodges

=====

Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges

Hanshin University (Korean Theological University)

447-791 Kyunggido Osan-City

Yangsandong 411

South Korea

__________________________________________________

Do You Yahoo!?

Great stuff seeking new owners in Yahoo! Auctions!

http://auctions.yahoo.com

Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l

List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@... - In a message dated 2/1/2002 11:51:54 AM Eastern Standard Time,

brian@... writes:

<< Leonard Maluf wrote -->

Leonard,

>In Logic, a self-evident proposition is one in which, once the terms of

>the subject and predicate are understood, the proposition is

>immediately seen to be true, as in the statement "a whole is greater

>than one of its parts".

>

It is clear you are not a mathematician. When I was teaching

mathematics in a state "comprehensive" school three miles from here, a

thirteen-year old boy (Peter "D", from the town of Godmanchester where I

live), pointed out that it is simply not true that "a whole is greater

than one of its parts".>>

I do hope you set him straight!

<< In class, we were exploring the idea of negative

numbers using a "number-line" showing positive whole numbers going in

one direction ( +1, +2, +3, +4 ...->>), and negative whole numbers in

the opposite direction (<<-...-4, -3, -2, -1), from a central zero. We

were discussing the key idea that a negative number (however far away

from zero) is smaller than any positive number, this being indicated

under the number-line by an arrow labelled "smaller" pointing in the

direction from positive to negative. Above the number-line, another

arrow labelled "greater", pointed in the opposite direction. Peter

correctly observed that since -3 = -1 + -2, and, since -3 is the

smallest number of these, that therefore the whole (-3) is ***smaller***

than one of its parts (-1). >>

You ought to have commended him for being clever, but pointed out that he is

nonetheless, of course, quite wrong. Wrong, logically speaking, because

guilty of a fundamental fallacy, that of a surreptitious four-term syllogism

(an absolute no-no for correct logical thinking, in any domain), resulting

from a term ("whole") used equivocally in his implicit argument. When I said

before that the subject and predicate have to be clearly understood as a

prerequisite for seeing the truth of a self-evident proposition, I meant,

among other things, the removal of all such equivocities, and hence too,

clarity regarding the question of "what paradigm of thought is being used",

as you describe it. Peter would then have received a proper lesson in the

difference between being merely clever and being wise.

Since I take it you do, after all, have a logical mind, I am confident that

you will see the pertinence of the above to the remainder of your post as

well.

Leonard Maluf

Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l

List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@... - Brian Wilson wrote --
>

Jeffery Hodges commented --

>When I was teaching mathematics in ... class, we were exploring the

>idea of negative numbers using a "number-line" .... We were discussing

>the key idea that a negative number (however far away from zero) is

>smaller than any positive number, this being indicated under the

>number-line by an arrow labelled "smaller" pointing in the direction

>from positive to negative. Above the number-line, another arrow

>labelled "greater", pointed in the opposite direction. Peter correctly

>observed that since -3 = -1 + -2, and, since -3 is the smallest number

>of these, that therefore the whole (-3) is ***smaller*** than one of

>its parts (-1).

>

>

Jeffery,

>The boy was very clever, but there's a sense in which the number -3 is

>greater than either of the parts -2 or -1. If -3 signifies the amount

>of my debt, then my whole debt is larger than either of the parts -2 or

>-1.

>

Yes, but this is not in a mathematical sense. It is true

mathematically that -3 < -1 , but it is false that -3 > -1 , otherwise

mathematics grinds to a halt.>

Not merely on the student's reasoning, but on the definition of smaller

>Strange things happen with negative numbers, I guess. The number -3

>also has the "parts" -4 and +1. Here, one part (-4) is -- on your

>student's reasoning -- smaller and the other (+1) larger.

>

and greater laid down by the system of maths being used. The statement

-4 < -3 is true. It is true also that +1 > -3. Any number "to the left"

of another number on the number-line is smaller, by definition. And any

number "to the right" of another number on the number-line is greater,

by definition. This is not strange. It is normal. It does indeed follow

that, since -3 = -4 + 1, that the whole (-3) is greater than one of its

parts (-4) and smaller than another of its parts (+1), but that actually

confirms my point that the statement that the whole is greater than any

one of its parts is not even true, let alone self-evidently true.

To come back to the subject of this thread, Leonard Maluf and I seem to

be agreed that it is not self-evident that any synoptist redacted his

source material in his own way. I would suggest that the earlier

introduction by someone else of the idea of "self-evident" redaction by

each synoptist has been shown to be very much an irrelevance. I have

enjoyed the excursus into mathematics, but maybe it would not be

appropriate to continue with this on Synoptic-L?

Best wishes,

BRIAN WILSON

>HOMEPAGE http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk/

Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK

> "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot

_

> speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".

Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l

List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@... > >Strange things happen with negative numbers, I guess. The number -3

Just because you apply a bad definition of "is a part of" as

> >also has the "parts" -4 and +1. Here, one part (-4) is -- on your

> >student's reasoning -- smaller and the other (+1) larger.

> >

> Not merely on the student's reasoning, but on the definition of smaller

> and greater laid down by the system of maths being used. The statement

> -4 < -3 is true. It is true also that +1 > -3. Any number "to the left"

> of another number on the number-line is smaller, by definition. And any

> number "to the right" of another number on the number-line is greater,

> by definition. This is not strange. It is normal. It does indeed follow

> that, since -3 = -4 + 1, that the whole (-3) is greater than one of its

> parts (-4) and smaller than another of its parts (+1), but that actually

> confirms my point that the statement that the whole is greater than any

> one of its parts is not even true, let alone self-evidently true.

pointed out by Leonard just before. I do not know exactly if

Leonard is or not a mathematician, but I feel quite confident

with his logic, first with the Goldbach conjecture, and now

with the example of negative numbers.

Leonard wrote :> When I said before that the subject and predicate have to be

The main equivocity is the use of set vocabulary in arithmetic.

> clearly understood as a prerequisite for seeing the truth of a

> self-evident proposition, I meant, among other things, the removal

> of all such equivocities, and hence too, clarity regarding the question

> of "what paradigm of thought is being used", as you describe it.

When you consider sets, for instance {1,2,a,b}, you may say it

is greater than all its parts, for instance {1,b}.

This property does not make sense when applied to arithmetic

(or you should define the way to go from sets to arithmetic)

a+

manu

PS : I know this is not the regular list to post this, and more over

Leonard answered before almost all what would have been to said about.

But I add one precision : the name of the property about even numbers

expressed as sum of two prime numbers is called "Goldbach conjecture",

and is known for more than three century, without having been demonstrated.

Not really self evident.

Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l

List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...