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Re: [ontolog-forum] Triad Logic

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2013 08:40:41 -0400
Message-id: <51CAE149.9030204@xxxxxxxxxxx>
On 6/26/2013 7:25 AM, Ray Martin wrote:
> But, could we not at least be gracious?    (01)

I apologize.  My only excuse is that I repeated Leo's term
"blowing smoke".    (02)

But there are some practices that I find extremely annoying and
pretentious, and I enjoy pricking the balloons when I see them:    (03)

  1. Burying trivial ideas in a ton of formalism (see poem below).    (04)

  2. Starting with an abstract formalism without giving any
     motivation, examples, or diagrams. The Bourbaki were very
     good mathematicians who led many lesser mathematicians
     astray by this style of writing.    (05)

  3. Snarky references to historical precedents -- and getting
     them wrong.    (06)

Re point #1:  Paul Halmos had an excellent slogan "Make It Simple,
and You Won’t Go Wrong."  For more advice from Halmos:    (07)

http://www.ams.org/notices/201106/rtx110600810p.pdf    (08)

Re point #2: René Thom was a mathematician who won the Fields
Medal (considered the equivalent of a Nobel Prize), and he had
been invited to one of the secret meetings of the Bourbaki.
But Thom fell asleep during an extremely abstract lecture,
and the Bourbaki did not invite him to join.  But I believe
that Thom was completely justified in falling asleep, and I
doubt that he regretted not being invited.  See    (09)

http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Thom.html    (010)

_________________________________________________________________    (011)

Poem by Henry Kautz:    (012)

    If your thesis is utterly vacuous,
    Use first-order predicate calculus.
       With sufficient formality,
       The sheerest banality
    Will be hailed by all as "Miraculous!"    (013)

    If your thesis is quite indefensible,
    Reach for semantics intensional.
       Over Montague grammar,
       Your committee will stammmer,
    Not admitting it's incomprehensible.    (014)

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