Meanings and EquationsCertain contemporary

Meanings and Equations

Certain contemporary math texts refer to boxes, cubes, and prisms as “cylinders”, since the volume of each can be expressed as “area of the base times the height”, and it they go on to define pyramids as “cones” since they are one third of the base times the height. So too, physicists define “acceleration” in such a way as to include both speeding up and slowing down. LIkewise “zero velocity”, is nothing more than a certain numerical value in an equation. Examples of this sort of thing abound in the metrical sciences.

My suspicion has been for a while that all the paradoxes and oddities of the contemporary sciences are paradoxes of measurement- a confusion between what a thing is and how it is measured. The scientist only allows meaning to measurement, and he is ready to dismiss language at the slightest sign of conflict. There is also the fact that the sciences can call all things the same so long as they are values to be “plugged into” an equation, regardless of how diverse the things might be in ordinary language.


The first division in mathematics is between the sort of math which is done most perfectly when done without thought, and the sort of math that is done most perfectly when thought is fully active. If you have to think about what 9 times 6 is, you have room to perfect your calculation skills. If you’re giving a proof in mathematics, any thoughtless presentation is imperfect. To the extent that the sciences are mathematical, this same distinction applies.

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