Log24

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Past Tense

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:09 PM

From a post that was written for Twelfth Night

Bernhard Weiss on the philosophy of Michael Dummett

" … debates about realism, that is, those debates that ask
whether or not one or another aspect of the world is independent
of the way we represent that aspect to ourselves. For example,
is there a realm of mathematical entities that exists fully formed
independently of our mathematical activity? Are there facts about
the past that our use of the past tense aims to capture?"

Yes and Yes.

See also The Whirligig of Time in this journal.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Garden Path

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 4:01 AM

"Not all those who have sought to decode the symbolism of the Tarot pack
have been occultists; some have been serious scholars…."

— Michael Dummett, The Game of Tarot , Ch. 20

“Eliot by his own admission took the ‘still point of the turning world’
in Burnt Norton  from the Fool in Williams’s The Greater Trumps .”

— Humphrey Carpenter, The Inklings , Ballantine Books, 1981, p. 106

From a talk on April 16, 2010, in Cuernavaca

http://www.log24.com/log/pix12/120106-UNAM-slide.jpg

Related material—

IMAGE- 'A Walk in the Noncommutative Garden'

See also The Martial Art of Giving Talks.

(Thanks to Lieven Le Bruyn for his Twelfth Night post on this topic.)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Precisely

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 6:00 AM

From a review of Truth and Other Enigmas , a book by the late Michael Dummett

"… two issues stand out as central, recurring as they do in many of the
essays. One issue is the set of debates about realism, that is, those debates that ask
whether or not one or another aspect of the world is independent of the way we
represent that aspect to ourselves. For example, is there a realm of mathematical
entities that exists fully formed independently of our mathematical activity? Are
there facts about the past that our use of the past tense aims to capture? The other
issue is the view
which Dummett learns primarily from the later Wittgenstein
that the meaning of an expression is fully determined by its use, by the way it
is employed by speakers. Much of his work consists in attempts to argue for this
thesis, to clarify its content and to work out its consequences. For Dummett one
of the most important consequences of the thesis concerns the realism debate and
for many other philosophers the prime importance of his work precisely consists
in this perception of a link between these two issues."

Bernhard Weiss, pp. 104-125 in Central Works of Philosophy , Vol. 5,
ed. by John Shand,
McGill-Queen's University Press, June 12, 2006

The above publication date (June 12, 2006) suggests a review of other
philosophical remarks related to that date. See …

http://www.log24.com/log/pix12/120105-SpekkensExcerpt.jpg

For some more-personal remarks on Dummett, see yesterday afternoon's
"The Stone" weblog in The New York Times.

I caught the sudden look of some dead master….

Four Quartets

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Poetry of Universals

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:26 AM

Continued from All Souls Day, 2011

Professor Sir Michael Dummett,
born June 27 1925, died December 27 2011

See also this journal on the day of Dummett's death.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Poetry of Universals

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 7:59 PM

A search today, All Souls Day, for relevant learning
at All Souls College, Oxford, yields the person of
Sir Michael Dummett and the following scholarly page—

(Click to enlarge.)

http://www.log24.com/log/pix11C/111102-CrispinWright222-360w.jpg

My own background is in mathematics rather than philosophy.
From a mathematical point of view, the cells discussed above
seem related to some "universals" in an example of Quine.

In Quine's example,* universals are certain equivalence classes
(those with the "same shape") of a family of figures
(33 convex regions) selected from the 28 = 256 subsets
of an eight-element set of plane regions.

A smaller structure, closer to Wright's concerns above,
is a universe of 24 = 16 subsets of a 4-element set.

The number of elements in this universe of Concepts  coincides,
as it happens, with the number obtained by multiplying out
the title of T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets .

For a discussion of functions that map "cells" of the sort Wright
discusses— in the quartets example, four equivalence classes,
each with four elements, that partition the 16-element universe—
onto a four-element set, see Poetry's Bones.

For some philosophical background to the Wright passage
above, see "The Concept Horse," by Harold W. Noonan—
Chapter 9, pages 155-176, in Universals, Concepts, and Qualities ,
edited by P. F. Strawson and Arindam Chakrabarti,
Ashgate Publishing, 2006.

For a different approach to that concept, see Devil's Night, 2011.

* Admittedly artificial. See From a Logical Point of View , IV, 3

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