18.240 the logical and the material

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2004 07:19:01 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 240.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Tue, 28 Sep 2004 07:12:08 +0100
         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
         Subject: the logical and the material

Allow me to recommend to your attention a beautiful, luminous article by
the computer scientist R. W. Hamming, "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of
Mathematics", American Mathematical Monthly 87.2 (Feb 1980): 81-90,
accessible via JSTOR. (As some of you will know, his title is in reference
to a paper by Eugene Wigner, "The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics
in the natural sciences", Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics 13
(Feb 1960), but that's not the source of my enthusiasm.) The paper is
almost entirely understandable by someone with only a sympathy for
mathematics and a willingness to entertain the implicit question in his
title. After reading it this evening I understood better what Northrop Frye
meant when he referred to mathematics as the imaginative language of
the natural sciences.


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Dr Willard McCarty | Senior Lecturer | Centre for Computing in the
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Received on Tue Sep 28 2004 - 02:28:36 EDT

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