July 20, 2014

1:11 PM | Parsons #5: Gödel on analyticity
The delay in getting round to talking about the next couple of papers in Charles Parsons’s Philosophy of Mathematics in the Twentieth Century signals, I’m afraid, a certain waning enthusiasm. I’m still hopeful that the essays in Part II of … Continue reading →

July 18, 2014

12:00 PM | Friday Potpourri
 A smallish bowl of math ghoulash from this week: 1)  Ed Frenkel's recent public talk at Oxford (GOOD stuff): http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/love-and-math 2)  The Fourier Transform (from The Guardian): http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jul/13/fourier-transform-maths-equations-history 3)  Another interesting (in a nerve-wracking way) puzzle from Presh Talwalkar (Zeckhauser’s Paradox):   http:/

July 15, 2014

9:48 PM | Abstract Structure
Draft of a paper, "Abstract Structure", cleverly called that because it aims to explicate the notion of "abstract structure", bringing together some things I mentioned a few times previously.

July 14, 2014

6:21 PM | The “P-values overstate the evidence against the null” fallacy
1. What you should ask… Discussions of P-values in the Higgs discovery invariably recapitulate many of the familiar criticisms of P-values (some “howlers”, some not). When you hear the familiar refrain, “We all know that P-values overstate the evidence against the null hypothesis”, denying the P-value aptly measures evidence, what you should ask is: “What do you mean […]

July 13, 2014

11:00 AM | Jordan Ellenberg... Getting It Right
 Math-Frolic Interview #25 "Mathematics as currently practiced is a delicate interplay between monastic contemplation and blowing stuff up with dynamite."                -- Jordan Ellenberg in "How Not To Be Wrong" "He’s really somewhere between a mathematician and a stand-up comedian, and to be honest I don’t know which one he’s better at, although he is a deeply talented mathematician."

July 11, 2014

11:54 AM | Interview at 3am magazine
Here is the shameless self-promotion moment of the day: the interview with me at 3am magazine is online. I mostly talk about the contents of my book Formal Languages in Logic, and so cover a number of topics that may be of interest to M-Phi readers: the history of mathematical and logical notation, 'math infatuation', history of logic in general, and some more. Comments are welcome!
11:30 AM | Friday Selections...
A few more mathy links for the weekend: 1)  If you missed Ed Frenkel on NPR's "Science Friday" a week ago, catch it here: http://tinyurl.com/lsb6oxo 2)  From The Guardian, the statistics of medical tests: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-28166019 3)  The Pigeonhole Principle made it into some popular press this week: http://io9.com/
3:40 AM | Higgs discovery two years on (2: Higgs analysis and statistical flukes)
I’m reblogging a few of the Higgs posts, with some updated remarks, on this two-year anniversary of the discovery. (The first was in my last post.) The following, was originally “Higgs Analysis and Statistical Flukes: part 2″ (from March, 2013).[1] Some people say to me: “This kind of reasoning is fine for a ‘sexy science’ like high energy physics (HEP). But I maintain […]

July 10, 2014

2:36 AM | Methodology in the Philosophy of Logic and Languages
This M-Phi post is an idea Catarina and I hatched, after a post Catarina did a couple of weeks back at NewAPPS, "Searle on formal methods in philosophy of language", commenting on a recent interview of John Searle, where Searle comments that"what has happened in the subject I started out with, the philosophy of language, is that, roughly speaking, formal modeling has replaced insight".I commented a bit underneath Catarina's post, as this is one thing that interests me. I'm writing a more […]

July 08, 2014

2:53 PM | Higgs Discovery 2 years on (1: “Is particle physics bad science?”)
July 4, 2014 was the two year anniversary of the Higgs boson discovery. As the world was celebrating the “5 sigma!” announcement, and we were reading about the statistical aspects of this major accomplishment, I was aghast to be emailed a letter, purportedly instigated by Bayesian Dennis Lindley, through Tony O’Hagan (to the ISBA). Lindley, according […]

July 07, 2014

6:07 PM | Winner of June Palindrome Contest: Lori Wike
Winner of June 2014 Palindrome Contest: First Second* Time Winner! Lori Wike *Her April win is here Palindrome: Parsec? I overfit omen as Elba sung “I err on! Oh, honor reign!” Usable, sane motif revoices rap. The requirement: A palindrome with Elba plus overfit. (The optional second word: “average” was not needed to win.) Bio: Lori Wike is principal bassoonist of the […]

July 06, 2014

8:30 PM | Pavel Haas Qt play the opening movement of Smetena’s 1st Qt.
Sinfini Music have just posted a decent quality video of the Pavel Haas Quartet playing the opening movement of the first Smetena String Quartet, “From My Life”, with their usual intensity. Apparently, they have now recorded both the  Smetena quartets, and … Continue reading →
11:15 AM | Infinity and Angst (David Foster Wallace)
I've moved this Sunday reflection, which grew longer-than-usual, to here from its customary spot at Math-Frolic:   "Here is a quotation from G.K. Chesterton: 'Poets do not go mad but chess players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.' Here also is a snippet

July 05, 2014

3:30 PM | Doubt, Uncertainty, Dispersion, Entropy : 2
Re: John Baez • Entropy and Information in Biological Systems Re: To develop the concept of evolutionary games as “learning” processes in which information is gained over time. My customary recommendation on this point is to look more deeply into … Continue reading →

July 04, 2014

7:33 PM | Three requests/suggestions
Has your uni library a copy of the 2013 second edition of An Introduction to Gödel’s Theorem? Do please check! It’s a lot better in lots of ways than the first edition (indeed, ideally, the first edition could be quietly put into the library … Continue reading →
11:30 AM | Friday Potpourri
Another week's mix of mathy selections: 1)  Evelyn Lamb reviews "Really Big Numbers" by Richard Schwartz (children's book): http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/roots-of-unity/2014/06/30/really-big-numbers-book-review/ 2)  You undoubtedly heard this week of Facebook's mass study in emotion-manipulation; be sure you've read Jordan Ellenberg's take: http://tinyurl.com/phaw53m And several more

July 03, 2014

7:53 PM | Not that smart …
An exhortation, repeated with approval on various philosophy blogs: “We’re all smart. Distinguish yourself by being kind.” I’m all for being kind, and hope that — when I was in the business — I mostly was (and of course regret … Continue reading →

July 02, 2014

2:00 AM | Doubt, Uncertainty, Dispersion, Entropy : 1
Re: Stephen Rose • The Second Law of Thermodynamics Peircers, Just a note to anchor a series of recurring thoughts that come to mind incidental to the thread on entropy, et cetera, but I won’t have to much to say on … Continue reading →

July 01, 2014

9:03 PM | Recommending two recent CD releases
CDs take up room, even if they are not as space-hungry as books (sigh! — it must be time for another trip to Oxfam to offload more never-to-be-read-again philosophy books: but that’s a story for another day). Still, despite running … Continue reading →
4:55 AM | Mathematics in the light of Maturana’s biology of cognition
As I have investigated all of the things in science and mathematics that get my attention, I have developed an impression of mathematics that, philosophically, seems most consistent with Humberto Maturana’s biology of language.  Maturana outlines his perspective in great detail in an essay by the same name that appeared in 1978 in the text [...]
3:35 AM | Some ironies in the ‘replication crisis’ in social psychology (1st installment)
There are some ironic twists in the way social psychology is dealing with its “replication crisis”, and they may well threaten even the most sincere efforts to put the field on firmer scientific footing–precisely in those areas that evoked the call for a “daisy chain” of replications. Two articles, one from the Guardian (June 14), and a second from […]

June 29, 2014

11:00 AM | Apologies to John Steinbeck...
A blurb today on yet another fine new book for the math novice or enthusiast: "The Grapes of Math" by Alex Bellos (oddly, the title is the same as an earlier math book for youngsters by Greg Tang). I very much enjoyed Bellos' prior work, "Here's Looking At Euclid," (American title). Publicity for Bellos' latest offering, however, seemed to focus on what seemed some trivial/light matters, and

June 28, 2014

1:38 PM | Sir David Hendry Gets Lifetime Achievement Award
Sir David Hendry, Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford [1], was recently given the Celebrating Impact Lifetime Achievement Award. Professor Hendry presented his automatic model selection program (Autometrics) at our conference, Statistical Science and Philosophy of Science (June, 2010) (Site is here.) I’m posting an interesting video and related links. I invite comments on the paper Hendry published, “Empirical […]

June 27, 2014

11:30 AM | Headed Into The Weekend
Another week's mishmash of links: 1)  An excerpt from Alex Bellos' latest volume "The Grapes of Math": http://tinyurl.com/ozffphx (My own blurb about this fun volume will likely be up on Sunday.) 2)  A surprisingly involved puzzle from Presh Talwalkar last Monday: http://mindyourdecisions.com/blog/2014/06/23/monday-puzzle-ratio-of-random-numbers/#.U6gHIqjrnKk 3)  Latest podcast guest with Sol

June 26, 2014

3:53 AM | Blog Contents: May 2014
May 2014 (5/1) Putting the brakes on the breakthrough: An informal look at the argument for the Likelihood Principle (5/3) You can only become coherent by ‘converting’ non-Bayesianly (5/6) Winner of April Palindrome contest: Lori Wike (5/7) A. Spanos: Talking back to the critics using error statistics (Phil6334) (5/10) Who ya gonna call for statistical […]

June 24, 2014

9:26 PM | Sean Carroll: "Physicists should stop saying silly things about philosophy"
Readers probably saw this already, but I mention it anyhow. Physicist Sean Carroll has a 23 June 2014 post, "Physicists should stop saying silly things about philosophy", on his blog gently criticizing some recent anti-philosophy remarks by some well-known physicists, and trying to emphasize some of the ways physicists and philosophers of physics might interact constructively on foundational/conceptual issues. Interesting comments underneath too.

June 23, 2014

7:45 PM | Parsons #4: Gödel
There are four pieces on Kurt Gödel in Parsons’s Philosophy of Mathematics in the Twentieth Century. The first is just ten pages long, and is an encyclopaedia-style entry on Gödel from the 2005 Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers. It seems to me … Continue reading →

June 21, 2014

9:29 PM | Big Bayes Stories? (draft i)
“Wonderful examples, but let’s not close our eyes,”  is David J. Hand’s apt title for his discussion of the recent special issue (Feb 2014) of Statistical Science called “Big Bayes Stories” (edited by Sharon McGrayne, Kerrie Mengersen and Christian Robert.) For your Saturday night/ weekend reading, here are excerpts from Hand, another discussant (Welsh), scattered remarks of mine, along […]
9:40 AM | Trends in Logic XIV, rough schedule
We now have a rough version of the conference schedule, including all the speakers and their titles. Here.Rafal

June 20, 2014

11:30 AM | Friday Wrap-Up
A varied mix of links that caught my interest in the week gone by: 1) Another interview with Jordan Ellenberg here (LA Times): http://tinyurl.com/o63qxnx For any who missed my review, last week, of Ellenberg's book "How Not To Be Wrong," it's here: http://mathtango.blogspot.com/2014/06/how-not-to-go-wrong.html 2) A couple of quickie problems from Futility Closet: http://
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