Monday, January 25, 2016

do you believe in "natural kinds"?

We imagine there is a planet, ‘Twin Earth’, exactly like Earth in all readily observable respects. Every person and thing on Earth has a twin equivalent on Twin Earth. However, there is no H2O on Twin Earth. Instead, there is a liquid that shares the manifest properties of water (e.g., its being colourless, tasteless, odourless, good for drinking, etc.). This liquid is composed not of H2O molecules but of very different molecules to which we assign the made-up formula ‘XYZ’. Despite its superficially water-like properties, intuitively XYZ is not water. What prevents XYZ form being water is the fact that XYZ is microstructurally different from H2O. If intuition is reliable in this respect, then (i) possessing water’s superficial properties is not sufficient to make something a sample of water, and (ii) being composed of molecules of H2O is necessary for something's being a sample of water. (via stanford encyclopedia of philosophy)
what putnam wants to say is that H20 is a natural kind.

just in case you didn't get kant's synthesis (p. 561 of our text)

let's see if you agree with kant's synthesis:

he thinks we know a priori that there is cause and effect (in other words, we're wired to it).

before, let's reexamine the meaning of

synthetic: according to david hume, 

all crows are black , or 
water boils at 100 celsius 

are synthetic. i.e., they are not analytic (turned into logical truths by substituting syn for syn) and they are known a posteriori, i.e., by experience.

so, kant agrees with hume that statements about causes are synthetic. but he thinks that some synthetic statements are a priori.

let's consider, for example, our knowledge that 5+7=12 or "the interior angles of any triangle add up to a 180 degrees, or a straight line."

kant believes that these (and similar) truths of mathematics are synthetic judgments,

for example: euclid's elements!

true, the sum of the interior angles of a triangle is not contained in the concept of a triangle. yet, clearly, such truths are known a priori, since they apply with strict and universal necessity to all of the objects of our experience, without having been derived from that experience itself.

how is that possible?

5 + 7 = 12 tells us something new about the world. it's self-evident, and undeniably a priori, but at the same time it is synthetic.

thus kant proved that a proposition can be synthetic and known a priori.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

are you a social neurotic? too anxious? try sauerkraut or better, kimchi

mmm, kimchi!

It is likely that the probiotics in the fermented foods are favorably changing the environment in the gut, and changes in the gut in turn influence social anxiety, ... it is absolutely fascinating that the microorganisms in your gut can influence your mind.
so, here is a kimchi recipe, from adventures in cooking. 

as ancient roman gastronome, marcus gavius apicius used to say "it's all in the gut."


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

our only opption to survival: colonizing space

Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years. By that time we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race. However, we will not establish self-sustaining colonies in space for at least the next hundred years, so we have to be very careful in this period.
that is, progress means new threats.

i've defended this idea as the change paradox. i.e,.

each problem solved presents a new problem unsolved.    

our next goal: colonizing space. a daunting prospect.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

is theoretical physics ((permanently(( incomplete?

last week I brought this question to my honors classes:

is a theory of everything possible (even desirable?)

I worked around the question here. 

Tell me what you think, all of you physics enthusiasts.  

Friday, January 8, 2016

are there infinitely more prime numbers than composite numbers?

this is a cool question, presented in my 11am honors class by A & B.

my two cents here.

in the spirit of problematization, i countered "perhaps." are you an idealist or a realist in mathematics? 

the idealist relies on aprioristic deductions, the realist goes empirical, she counts ("she" is a computer algorithm). so, i took a realist short cut.  something very interesting happens to primes --between 106 and 108, which allows for siding in favor of composite numbers' greater infinite-density.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

triff's office hours

M,W,F: 8-10am

T,R: 7:30am-8:25am

T: 3.30-5:30pm

if you need a math and physics (even chemistry!) tutor

My ex student Eugenio SantamarĂ­a is available for help!
He's good (got an A in my class). Use him (tell him I sent you).

Mathematics: MAT1033 (Intermediate Algebra), MAC1105 (College Algebra), MAC1147 (Precalculus and Trigonometry), MAC2311 (Calculus 1), MAC2312 (Calculus 2), MAC2313 (Calculus 3), MAS2103 (Elementary Linear Algebra) and courses below MAT1033, Chemistry: CHM1025 (Intro to Chemistry), CHM1045 (General Chemistry 1), CHM1046 (General Chemistry 2) Physics: PHY1025 (Basic Physics), PHY2048 (Physics 1 with Calculus).