[hist-analytic] Mathematics and Lakatos's Research Programme Degeneracy

mdoctorow at ca.rr.com mdoctorow at ca.rr.com
Sat Feb 7 12:45:02 EST 2009

Yes, I think it is all a matter of what Conformity dictates as the dominant Agenda in mathematics and in physics for example.  These are largely "fads", and remarkably short-sighted.  My comments about yo-yo "evolution" apply just as much to mathematics and science as to politics.  In Quantum Theory in physics, for example, a particular university gets obsessed with one approach (Loop Quantum Gravity, for example, especially in Canada and parts of the U.K.), and the tendency is for everything else to be either ignored or down-played.   In another particular university, for example in much of the USA, there is an obsession with an alternative approach (M-theory or Superstring Theory "Quantum Gravity" or Unification theory, for example) and everything else tends to be ignored or down-played.   

In mathematics, some of the fads or "yo-yo trends" are far worse than in physics.  In mathematical probability-statistics, for example, whether you prefer to divide or to subtract numbers will literally respectively separate you into almost physically fighting schools (conditional probability versus my school of Probable Causation/Influence (PI)).  The former school is so powerful that they tend to utterly refuse to publish anything by the latter school, and they have remarkable influence in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and engineering and computers far beyond their merits or Wisdom.

Osher Doctorow

---- Jlsperanza at aol.com wrote: 
> of Mathematics -- or  "Mathematical Science".
> Lakatos thought, I think, that research  programmes either progenerate, or 
> 'degenerate'. In Factual or Empirical Sciences  (Mario Bunge speaks of formal 
> vs. factical sciences), Lakatos viewed, it was  more of the nature of the 
> research programme you were engaged (rather than  matters of 'raw' empirical 
> evidence) that determined a 'paradigm-switch' as it  were. 
> As you see, I think nothing has changed much, mathematically, since  Thales 
> -- or at least since Thomas edited those two volumes.

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