Monday, April 25, 2005


As I mentioned in my last entry, I'm going to be including a history of some of my own discoveries in logic.

This gives a little more detail as a followup to March's post on Culture. The area of concepts is probably the single most practically important subdivision of knowledge: Nearly all people can converse, but literacy, or the ability to read and write, and its special subdivision numeracy, the ability to understand numbers and to calculate forms the foundation of all other learning.

I have divided this into several areas for convenience in study.

1) Language includes the study of language and linguistics, writing, and specific languages of the world.

2) Literature. I take this in a very broad sense, not only literary works of artistic merit, but nonfiction, scholarly works, and oral tradition.

3) Graphic arts. This includes drawing, painting, photography, and animation. Motion pictures could be grouped here, but I prefer to put them with others of the performing arts in the "Behavior" division of culture.

4) Mathematics. This is usually considered one of the sciences, and is often considered the language of science. However, it has roots in language and writing, so I group it with them.

5) Applied science. This includes bodies of knowledge such measurement and the calendar, accounting, electronics, and engineering. These are largely mathematical.

6) Philosophy. As usually recognized. I have already noted that this has some overlap with religion, but there is a something of a distinction.

Some of these subjects depend more heavily than others on the physical and natural sciences. These don't seem to connect directly with the human body, but psychology is useful, and biographies of linguists, authors, artists, mathematicians, philosophers, and other contributors are very useful. Understanding of their social connections and natural environment may also be useful. Other approaches include the creation of cultural works as an occupation, and the role of games and play. It is also useful to consider the physical books and other artifacts that are associated with cultural works. The role of families, education, economics, government, and religion can only be summarized here. Connections with social changes and movements, particular communities, and the peoples of the world are also important. There is little known with certainty about the prehistory of concepts, but it can be traced with increasing amounts of source material in antiquity, classical and medieval times, and modern history.

Most of these areas of knowledge are major areas in their own right, and I take it for granted that readers of this blog are literate and already have the foundations of this area. More specific suggestions will come with individual areas.

I don't clearly remember when I became interested in logic, but I do remember coming across the fundamentals of symbolic logic in my high-school geometry class. I also remember trying to reconcile algebraic and geometric styles of proof: they were quite different, and I didn't really appreciate how and why. This idea of attempting to reconcile different approaches has a lot to do with my later discoveries.

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