Re: virus: Re: Evaluating Math

David Leeper (
Mon, 27 Aug 1956 21:06:08 +0000

Lior Golgher wrote:
> Todd Kuipers wrote:
> > This reminds me of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
> Yap, in my post I aimed to the concept of 'quality' as presented by
> Pirsig in his great book. As david pointed out, the characteristics of
> an object can be dealt by Cohesive Math. How good is a certain object?
> That's something you can't count with Cohesive Math.

Here's one (simple) way:

1 = Object
2 = Good

Here's another (using pseudo-code):

IF (X is an element of Y) RETURN TRUE.

The above function simply checks if some number is an element of another
and returns TRUE or FALSE. For example, X may be "Relaxing" and Y may
be "Golf". If the person described by this function finds golf relaxing
than GOOD returns TRUE, otherwise it returns FALSE. Note that GOOD can
be completely subjective. "Element of" basically means "Subset of", for
example 1 and 2 are elements of 3 because 1 + 2 = 3.

Notice that the things assigned "Quality" in Zen and the Art of Motercycle
Maintence, such as motercycle maintence and riding motercycles were
examples of doing something. In other words, they were functions.

> > I think Pirsig did something like this in his book.
> Well if he had done such a thing, I wouldn't have raised the question.
> If quality is subjective, and I think it is, then Evaluating Math should
> be subjective too, just like Aesthetics.

CM handles subjective opinions quite well.

> > It would be interesting to see if the members of this list had a consensus on
> > quality measurement or at least a portion of it. A formula form could be
> > quality=sum(a(n)*w), where "a" are the attributes, "n" would the specific
> > attribute and "w" would be the weighting applied to the attribute (as not all
> > attributes are equal?).
> By 'attribute' do you mean something like 'criterion'? As Pirsig well
> explained in his book, quality can't be calculated according to fixed
> criterions [The part in which Phidaros (sp?) teaches Rhethoric - He
> realizes that his students can't reach quality by memorizing certain
> rules and exceptions].
> So, how *can* we measure quality?


David Leeper
Homo Deus  
1 + 1 != 2