Le 18-août-06, à 01:14, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :

> Bruno Marchal writes:
>> There is no authoritative argument in math. There are fashion,
>> prejudice, stubbornness and many human things like that, but nobody
>> serious in math will believe something because the boss said so.
> Interesting: this marks mathematics as different from just about
> every other academic field.

Perhaps. Please note that I was talking about people "serious in math".
Also, I am not saying that a mathematician will not pretend something 
interesting because the boss said so. Only, I have never seen (even in 
old text) a statement in math said to be true by a mathematician 
referring to a boss. Even at the time of the sad idolatry around 
Pythagoras. This is so true that they coins two terms: 1) 
"mathematician" for those who understand, and <I have forget the name 
but will seach:sorry> for those who repeat the math without 
But if you have a counterexample I am interested to know.

Other field are different by their very nature. A high school student 
cannot reasonably ask his teacher to justify a statement like "whales 
weight such number of tons". Some plausibility judgement are 
obligatory. In math, plausibility argument are needed for having some 
idea of the work of math colleagues in other field. If you ask me if I 
believe in Fermat Last theorem, I will say yes in the coffee room, but 
not in the office. The same for the four color theorem.



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