Platonism is the most pervasive philosophy of mathematics. Indeed, it can be argued that an inarticulate, half-conscious Platonism is nearly universal among mathematicians. The basic idea is that mathematical entities exist outside space and time, outside thought and matter, in an abstract realm. In the more eloquent words of Edward Everett, a distinguished nineteenth-century American scholar, "in pure mathematics we contemplate absolute truths which existed in the divine mind before the morning stars sang together, and which will continue to exist (...) there when the last of their radiant host shall have fallen from heaven." In What is Mathematics, Really?, renowned mathematician Rueben Hersh takes these eloquent words and this pervasive philosophy to task, in a subversive attack on traditional philosophies of mathematics, most notably, Platonism and formalism. Virtually all philosophers of mathematics treat it as isolated, timeless, ahistorical, inhuman. Hersh argues the contrary, that mathematics must be understood as a human activity, a social phenomenon, part of human culture, historically evolved, and intelligible only in a social context. Mathematical objects are created by humans, not arbitrarily, but from activity with existing mathematical objects, and from the needs of science and daily life. Hersh pulls the screen back to reveal mathematics as seen by professionals, debunking many mathematical myths, and demonstrating how the "humanist" idea of the nature of mathematics more closely resembles how mathematicians actually work. At the heart of the book is a fascinating historical account of the mainstream of philosophy--ranging from Pythagoras, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, and Kant, to Bertrand Russell, David Hilbert, Rudolph Carnap, and Willard V.O. Quine--followed by the mavericks who saw mathematics as a human artifact, including Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Mill, Peirce, Dewey, and Lakatos. In his epilogue, Hersh reveals that this is no mere armchair debate, of little consequence to the outside world. He contends that Platonism and elitism fit well together, that Platonism in fact is used to justify the claim that "some people just can't learn math." The humanist philosophy, on the other hand, links mathematics with geople, with society, and with history. It fits with liberal anti-elitism and its historical striving for universal literacy, universal higher education, and universal access to knowledge and culture. Thus Hersh's argument has educational and political ramifications. Written by the co-author of The Mathematical Experience, which won the American Book Award in 1983, this volume reflects an insider's view of mathematical life, based on twenty years of doing research on advanced mathematical problems, thirty-five years of teaching graduates and undergraduates, and many long hours of listening, talking to, and reading philosophers. A clearly written and highly iconoclastic book, it is sure to be hotly debated by anyone with a passionate interest in mathematics or the philosophy of science. (shrink)
Reviewed Works:Reuben Hersh, Proving is Convincing and Explaining.Philip J. Davis, Visual Theorems.Gila Hanna, H. Niels Jahnke, Proof and Application.Daniel Chazan, High School Geometry Students' Justification for Their Views of Empirical Evidence and Mathematical Proof.
This examination of the mythification of al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī shows how the transformation of his historical person into a complete myth was accomplished, along with the groups responsible for making him say and do what legitimizes their own views and practices.
Traditionally Pakistani society exhibits stereotypical patriarchal gender ideologies in all spheres of life. Pakistani media also operates under the same patriarchal framework of received definitions of gender. When it comes to Pakistani television advertisements, to ensure social acceptability, typically they represent men and women in their perceived gender roles. However, recently a wave of change can be noticed in these advertisements as many advertisements challenge and/ or reconstruct gender ideologies implicitly or explicitly. In the current research advertisements selected from diverse (...) domains including edibles, cell phones and services, beauty products and toiletries denote a change across gender stereo-typicality. The paper investigates whether, how far and in what ways gender roles and ideologies are challenged and reconstructed; and what thematic, linguistic and extra linguistic strategies are used in Pakistani television advertisements. It is expected that the paper will provide insights into the processes of reconstruction of gender ideologies in Pakistan. (shrink)
It is explained that, in the sense of the sociologist Erving Goffman, mathematics has a front and a back. Four pervasive myths about mathematics are stated. Acceptance of these myths is related to whether one is located in the front or the back.
Historians and economists will find here what their fields have in common - the movement since the 1950s known variously as 'cliometrics', 'economic history', or 'historical economics'. A leading figure in the movement, Donald McCloskey, has compiled, with the help of George Hersh and a panel of distinguished advisors, a highly comprehensive bibliography of historical economics covering the period up until 1980. The book will be useful to all economic historians, as well as quantitative historians, applied economists, historical demographers, (...) business historians, national income accountants, and social historians. (shrink)
This is a response to Dr Charlotte Rosalind Blease's paper ‘Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), the Placebo Effect and Informed Consent’, written by Julie K. Hersh who has had ECT. Hersh argues that placebo effect is impossible to prove without endangering the lives of participants in the study. In addition, informing potential ECT patients of unproven placebo effect could discourage patients from using a procedure that from experience has proven highly effective.
This paper investigates four questions related to ethical issues associated with the involvement of engineers and scientists in 'military work', including the influence of ethical values and beliefs, the role of gendered perspectives and moves beyond the purely technical. It fits strongly into a human -centred systems perspective and extends my previous AI and Society papers on othering and narrative ethics, and ethics and social responsibility. It has two main contributions. The first involves an analysis of the literature through the (...) application of different ethical theories and the application of gendered analysis to discussion of masculinities in engineering and the military. The second is a survey of scientists and engineers to investigate their opinions and experiences. The conclusions draw together the results of these two contributions to provide preliminary responses to the four questions and include a series of recommendations covering education and training, ethical approval of work not involving human participants or animals, the need for organisational support, approaches covering wider perspectives and the encouragement of individual ethical commitment. (shrink)
Verse 4:34 of the Qur'an has historically been interpreted to give husbands authority over their wives. Even today, such as in a recent case in the United Arab Emirates, Islamic courts have held that the husband has some leeway in "disciplining" wives who act in a rebellious manner to their husbands. This article challenges this interpretation through a comprehensive legal analysis, taking into account the context under which the verse came about, including the societal norms and conditions of the time; (...) the Prophet Muhammads profound views against violence towards women; the values of marriage emphasized in the Quran; the Qurans incremental approach to improving social behavior and practice; and the higher objectives of Islamic law. (shrink)
This article studies the politics and ethics in Ibn Ṭufayl’s twelfth-century allegory, Risālat Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān. I discuss this allegory alongside Ibn Sīnā’s own Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān and Absāl and Salāmān, first, to show that their representations of politics are not reducible to epistemology, and second, to argue that Ibn Ṭufayl inverts the political principles depicted in Ibn Sīnā’s two tales. The paper focuses on how the characters in each allegory interact with one another, and it reconstructs the neglected politics (...) and ethics of the allegories’ seemingly minor characters. I argue that in Ibn Tufayl’s descriptions of Ḥayy’s failure to convert the neighboring islanders, the islanders consistently act in accordance with three political ideals: association, hospitality, and friendship. The islanders’ reactions to Ḥayy’s arrival and to his attempts to ‘educate’ them show each of these ideals broken down into an antinomy. Ibn Tufayl’s critique of these political ideals turns on their internal potential for self-subversion. (shrink)
Corporations are facing a growing demand for the transparency of political contributions. In the United States, this demand has largely focused on the implementation of a mandatory disclosure law. It rests on the assumption that legal enforcement can make it easier to observe the ties between corporations and political parties. In this study, I challenge this assumption. I build my case by first developing a conceptual foundation of corporate political transparency. I argue that in the absence of economic benefits, legal (...) enforcement has a limited effect on CPT. Instead of encouraging transparency, mandatory disclosure can lead to the concealment of corporate political contributions. To develop a model of concealment, I borrow the characterizations of disguise from theatrical drama. Using the context of Indian firms, I show the limitation of mandatory disclosure and the efficacy of regulatory incentive. My study highlights the need for a broader debate on CPT to understand the relative implications of regulatory policies. (shrink)
The paper discusses the limitations of engineering ethics as implemented in practice, with a focus on the fact that engineering and other activities are carried out without any consideration of whether the activities are themselves ethical, and on the gap between legality and ethics. This leads to the following three central ideas of the paper. The first is the need for engineers to both be aware of and critique their own values and be able to widen their perspective to that (...) of the ‘other’, i.e., marginalised and minority groups and the environment. This understanding of the ‘other’ and values is also applied to the discussion of ethical issues relating to minority world (‘developed’) country engineers working in majority world (‘developing’) countries. The second central idea is the fact that structural and contextual factors in the form of barriers and enablers affect ethical values and practices. Individuals are not necessarily unethical in themselves, but the context and organisational ethos may present barriers to ethical behaviour and encourage the development of unethical values. These barriers and enablers are investigated through a pilot survey. The third central idea is the relationship between individual and collective responsibility and the need for support to enable engineers to think and behave ethically. (shrink)
One of the exciting developments in political theory in the last decades is that the boundaries of the discipline gradually but vigorously expanded beyond “the West,” as evident in the rise of work that is often labeled “comparative.” Basic to this shift is the recognition that various thinkers, ideas, and contexts—usually marked as “non-Western”—have been peripheral to, and remain marginalized in, the discipline of political theory. However, the discipline’s framing of the “comparative” as the study of “non-Western political thought” tends (...) to take for granted the boundary between “West” and “non-West.” The primacy of this assumed correspondence between “comparative” and “non-Western” is most visible and problematic in the ongoing institutionalization of the “comparative turn.” I understand comparative political theory as an immanent critique of political theory: the discipline presents itself as global, but in practice it is too often confined to studying a few places, histories, and bodies of knowledge. The “comparative” calls for political theorists to more reliably study politics and power anywhere. To take “comparative” to mean the study of equivalent, coherent forms of “non-Western” otherness is to elide the historicity of “the Western” and the ways in which it has been made in relation to non-Europeans. (shrink)
Obtaining informed consent is a cornerstone of biomedical research, yet participants comprehension of presented information is often low. The most effective interventions to improve understanding rates have not been identified.
This article tells the archival story of how Rawls invented a hypothetical Muslim state that he called “Kazanistan.” It examines drafts of The Law of Peoples from 1992 to 1998, Rawls's notes, his personal correspondence, and the sources preserved in his archives. I track Rawls's gradual interest in Islam, which resulted in his invention of Kazanistan during the final revisions, in March 1998. Contrary to the aesthetics of rigor and simplicity in ideal theory's methods, Rawls's actual method in his incursion (...) into “comparative philosophy” and Islam was circuitous and contingent. And contrary to ideal theory's self-presentation as emerging from an ahistorical conceptual realm, the idealized abstraction of Islam emerges from Rawls's own history, or from an ideologically limited set of texts, conversations, and political debates about Islam. The genealogy of Kazanistan illustrates how liberal philosophy extracts data from other disciplines to construct other peoples, without regard for the surrounding disciplinary politics. (shrink)
In recent decades, the trope that classical Muslim thinkers anticipated or influenced modern European thought has provided an easy endorsement of their contemporary relevance. This article studies how Arab editors and intellectuals, from 1882 to 1947, understood the twelfth-century Andalusian philosopher Ibn Ṭufayl, and Arabo-Islamic philosophy generally. This modern generation of Arab scholars also attached significance to classical Arabic texts as precursors to modern European thought. They invited readers to retrospectively identify with Ibn Ṭufayl and his treatise, Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān. (...) Comparisons of Ibn Ṭufayl to European thinkers, and re-presentations of Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān as the precedent or genesis of European thought, facilitated these editors’ global imaginaries, anti-colonial projects and political fantasies. This article tracks these projects and fantasies through the afterlife of Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān from early printings and generalist surveys to later editions and studies, as Ibn Ṭufayl’s significance became sutured into his imagined importance for Europe, and for going beyond Europe. (shrink)
Nugayev critically analyzes current conceptions of scientific change. Then he constructs his own normative model and compares it with actual problematic situations. In particular, he analyzes critically the replacement of Lorentz’s theory with the special theory of relativity. Key words: Popper, Duhem, Schlesinger, Lakatos, Kuhn .
Massimiliano Tomba's Insurgent Universality locates an “alternative legacy of modernity” in how revolutionary movements across three centuries and four continents interpreted and claimed different pasts, concepts, and alternatives for themselves. These movements, from the Communards to the Zapatistas to the Russian Revolutionaries, engaged in democratic experiments in self-government, radical equality, and collective possession. In this forum, Tomba's interlocutors offer reflections and questions about the position of the critical historian, universality, and colonialism. Tomba's response explains the stakes of his project with (...) two further examples of his historiographic practice. (shrink)
The article is devoted to the nature of science. To what extent are science and mathematics affected by the society in which they are developed? Philosophy of science has accepted the social influence on science, but limits it only to the context of discovery (a "locational" approach). An opposite "attributive" approach states that any part of science may be so influenced. L. Graham is sure that even the mathematical equations at the core of fundamental physical theories may display social attributes. (...) He has used the investigations of the famous Soviet physicist V. Fock on the General Theory of Relativity which were under the influence of Marxism. The Goal of the article is to demonstrate: 1) Why Soviet science is not an appropriate subject-matter for testing the thesis of social constructivism, 2) That differnt levels of science and different stages in the development of science undergo social influences in different degrees ranging from very significant and unavoidable to absolutely trivial and easy eliminated. (shrink)
The rise of modern science has evoked responses from both Muslim and Western thinkers. Since science is a central feature of modernity, their responses to science can also be read as their responses to modernity. These intellectual responses can best be gauged through discourses in the history and philosophy of science since the 1970s.Although the history and philosophy of science are commonly understood as academic disciplines that study science in its historical and philosophical aspects, discourse in the history and philosophy (...) of science can nevertheless be seen as part of the wider discourse on modernity. Scholars have attempted to define the meaning and content of modernity and what... (shrink)
The study examines and theorizes the importance of strategic attribute constructs as applied to Pakistan’s banking sector by identifying their roles in enhancing organizational performance and the mediating effect of organizational commitment. The current study adopted quantitative research designs and methods to determine structural relationships between the proposed constructs. A total of 10 hypotheses were tested underpinned by the Resource-Based View of the Firm and Social Exchange theories. The strategic attributes studied were significantly and positively related to, and enhance, organizational (...) performance if the banks: focus on strategic positioning, fostering a strong organizational culture, strategize internal marketing practices, and boost organizational commitment. The findings supported the mediating role of organizational commitment between strategic attributes and organizational performance. This study contributes to existing literature and supports prior research while filling in gaps in the literature concerning developing countries. (shrink)
This paper examines the role of ethics in research with potentialapplicability to chemical and biological warfare. It focuses uponbiological warfare research, and examines the ethical dilemmas faced bythose working with dual-use potential technologies. It discusses thenormative, legal and ethical prohibitions against participation inchemical and biological warfare programmes from a Western perspective.It examines the motivations of individuals participating in CBW researchand concludes with recommendations for increasing awareness aboutethical and normative prohibitions. An appendix lists the results of asurvey of ethical codes in (...) relevant scientific disciplines conducted viathe Internet. (shrink)
This article aims to respond to the long-lived perceived incompatibility between care and compassion and justice in organizational literature. It is argued that principles of care and compassion and principles of justice are compatible with each other and can be integrated in organizations in such a way that both will supplement each other. Previous researches tend to view concepts of care and compassion and justice either as competing or inheriting some fundamental trade-offs. This article argues that the highlighted incompatibility between (...) care and compassion and justice is mainly due to the limited understanding about the nature of organizational justice. Care and compassion carry elements of subjectivity and are dynamic in nature, whereas literature on organizational justice has described justice as an objective, static and linear construct due to which an incompatibility between these two very important phenomena is prevailing. This incompatibility can be removed by changing the way of looking at organizational justice and by exploring its dynamic nature. (shrink)
Current organizations are underpinned by utilitarian ethics of Modernity. Pure economic motive driven organizations detach themselves from larger societal interest. Rising number of corporate scandals and intraorganizational income inequalities are breeding similar trends in society at large. Current organizations base their competitive advantage on resources and capabilities which boils down to economic supremacy at all cost whether it is named I/o or RBV of the firm. This theoretical article posits Ethics-based Trust as the main competency and capability for attaining sustained (...) competitive advantage. It in no way condemns utility view of the firms but treats it as a natural yet secondary outcome of genuine ethicality of the firm. Cultivating an ethical culture in the firm through identifying antecedents, organizational practices, and the outcomes where profitability is an automatic but secondary outcome under the supremacy of ethics is detailed in the multilevel model presented in this article. The main call of this article is to posit ethics and morality over and above short-term profits so that organizations fulfill their trustee role for society through enacting socio-humanistic theories within organizations. A brief analysis of the proposed ethical theory of firm is undertaken in light of the “schooling” notion in the contemporary organization theory literature. (shrink)