Mary Anne Mohanraj
That’s because English falls into the humanities/arts. The cartoonist is suffering from the delusion that mathematics is a science, not an art. Of course scientists sometimes find the work of mathematicians useful, but that does not make it a science, except perhaps in its clear notion of what is or is not true.
But isn’t math a science in that it proposes and tests hypotheses, all in an effort to describe the universe around us?
I think it is not quite correct to say we mathematicians test hypotheses. We make conjectures and prove them, or if we cannot, we look for counterexamples. The methodology of proof is completely different from the experimental/observational methodology of science. For some mathematicians mathematics may be an attempt to describe or understand the universe, but for many, it is an end in itself, like music.
^ Fair enough! 😉
You forgot to add the ALT text that goes with that comic:
“On the other hand, physicists like to say physics is to math as sex is to masturbation.”
Of course mathematicians say: Mathematics is like sex. It has practical uses, but that’s not why we do it.
Mark Pilgrim has a response cartoon.
In light of the Mark Pilgrim cartoon Jed links above, what field would it be — Rhetoric, perhaps — that links Philosophy back to Sociology and completes the chain?
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