Samuel Hansen demands that Cody Palmer, Juan Mariscal, and Nathan Rowe talk about the least appreciated and most disparaged mathematician in recent history: Georg Cantor.

Links to this episode’s topic:

Georg Cantor

Set Theory

Baconism

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[wpaudio url=”http://acmescience.com/Podcasts/CP/cp46.mp3″]

Why so dismissive of constructivism, finitism, and institutionalism? The former two aren’t necessarily uninteresting as systems of mathematics for investigation (you praised Cantor for being unafraid to carry through to the consequences of such a system). The latter is difficult to dismiss from a philosophy of mathematics standpoint: the alternative is mathematical Platonism, which I think makes most mathies uncomfortable when we’re called out on it.

To be honest the main reason why, I at least, dismissed those three was time constraints and to match the tone of the show. We simply did not have enough time to get into those three subjects, which given what you have said may be a good idea to cover as a topic in a later episode, and since we were spending so much time raging against those who ran Cantor into the loony-bin it made since to dismiss the philosophies of those who stood against him. I realize that dismissing entire areas of mathematics for comic effect is not the most effective way of being unbiased, but given my entirely irrational hatred of Newton(which is surprisingly not a put on for the show) it does match with my personal tendencies.

Otherwise thanks for listening, and even more importantly paying attention. If we screw up like this again please call me on it. How else will I stay honest?

-SH