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Humanist Archives: May 4, 2020, 8:51 a.m. Humanist 33.816 - on the uses of arithmetic

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 816.
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        Date: 2020-05-03 12:28:13+00:00
        From: Peter Boot 
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 33.815: on the uses of arithmetic

Hello Jim and Tim,

Jim, you write, defending Rose,

> The problem is not with mathematics itself in some general sense, but with
> quantifying human beings and treating them as objects by doing so.

I don't see at all why counting human beings should be equivalent to 'treating
them as objects'; that would seem to imply the rejection of mathematics (and
science) that was one of the things that I objected to. It is true that later
she writes 'if someone counts, they matter', followed by the non-sequitur 'with
the further implication that they can be held answerable'--apparently, anything

Tim, I'm afraid what I wrote wasn't a 'calm response', I was angered by what I
see as intellectual irresponsibility. But I agree with you that mathematics is
like natural language in that both can be used naively and uncritically. And
both can be used for good and for ill.

(Part of your response is based on a misreading: Rose writes of mathematics not
that it is 'killing art' but that it is 'a killing art'. It is neither, of


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