[hist-analytic] The good of Mercator's north poles and equators

Jlsperanza at aol.com Jlsperanza at aol.com
Wed Oct 28 11:58:58 EDT 2009

```What an excellent way of having Witters right! I always found his statement
that it is not true that the metre rod in Parigi was a metre long
convincing.  True, he did not say it is FALSE either. I suppose in the view of the
early  Witters -- I always go back to the early Witters -- it is something we
should  pass in silence (which it might be just as well -- for
quantifications of  lenghts can be irrisory, redundant if not plain rude). More below.

In a message dated 10/27/2009 4:29:15 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
aune1 at verizon.net writes:

Rod r is  before us.
1.  Let L be the length r now has, whatever that length may  be
(stipulation for meaning of "L").
2. ∀x(L sub m (x) = 1 iff x  has L)   (stipulation for "Length in
meters for x =  1")
3.  L sub m (r) = 1 iff r has L. (from 2, UI)
4.  r has L  (from 1: L is the length r now has).
5. L sub m(r) = 1 (conclusion of a  priori derivation).
6. It is not necessary that r has L: it would have a  different length
under contingently different circumstances,
7.  It is not necessary that L sub m (r) = 1 (from 3and 2)
----

I think that French man (whoever he was) who stipulated all that _was_ a
genius. For one, 'metron', in Greek, and in Latin, I suppose, only meant
'measure' -- which MAKES the thing totally analytic, and A PRIORI.

"A measure is a measure is a measure".

All this talk confuses me bunches (slightly) -- for while the duration of
a SECOND can be measured objectively as having to do with the rotation of
the  earth, the 'metre rod' is -- it -- sorry for ignorance -- measured
according to  distance to the sun? Nay, it is a fraction of the earth length.

It goes to show that possibly Kant was right about the SPACE and TIME
being a priori things (categories). They seem pure concepts of the
understanding. But ONCE you start "measuring" them you bring a human element  that the
puritan in me and Kant slightly detest ("God cannot measure in  metres").

Someone said, "Natural numbers were created by God" -- Similarly, Carroll
in Hunting of the Snark, goes, "What's the good of Mercator?"

And shan't we agree!

J. L. Speranza

---
He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least  vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A  map they could all understand.

'What's the good of Mercator's North Poles  and Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So the Bellman would  cry: and the crew would reply
"They are merely conventional  signs!

"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But  we've got our brave Captain to thank"
(So the crew would protest) "that he's  bought us the best -
A perfect and absolute blank!"

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