Karl P. Platt on sun 13 oct 96
It seems sort of ridiculous to be arguing the position that mathematics
are relevant in education, but, hey, it's Saturday and I'm tired of
grinding (mathematically selected, measured and cut) structural steel
for the moment.
>>Math challanged personnel<<
Math "Challanged"? Boy, doesn't this broaden our discussion over the
integrity of education.
>>...why be worrying about a math test when your true aim is a career in art.<<
For the same reasons one might worry about spelling.
>>Are you purposefully trying to insult all of us who are not comfortable with h
No..... and the suggestion is a red herring.
>>...for me there are simply to many far more applicable and interesting things
Disconcordar disso....he said in a foreign language. I won't argue that
portugujs, Sartre or Kafka are superfluous any more than I'm going to
argue that elemental mathematics aren't essential to a well rounded
education. However, to suggest that these other pursuits are somehow
devoid of linear concepts more explicitly dealt with in mathematics is a
Let's take philosophy, for instance. Bertand Russell, one of my personal
favorites, didn't merely assail Christianity or initiate movements
against war in hard to refute terms. I would point out that his seminal
work as a philosopher had to do with the philosophy of mathematics --
his Principia Mathematica. This work was driven by his association with
Ludwig Wittgenstien, another mathematical philosopher. Don't you recall
that the most basic elements of philosophy are rooted in Logic? You
know, I think, therefore I am...I think. Or if a=b and b=c then a=c.
Maybe one should look at Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and come back
here to tell me that it's not a highly linear work.
The trap of going through life relying solely on induction was well
expressed by Russell who used the analogy of a chicken in a barnyard who
observed that when the farmer showed up he brought food. The chicken
thus would go running out to the farmer each day until the day the
farmer brought an axe instead of grain.
Linguas estrangeiro sco logico tambim...Yes, language is linear, too.
Literature uses language and while the intent might be to express an
abstract thought, it is accomplished through a highly and linearly
organized assemblage of nouns, verbs, subjects, predicates,
prepositions, etc. If language is linear and language expresses the
abstract, then abstract expression through language is a linear exersize
-- a=b,b=c,a=c. This logic may be extended to any other expressive
pursuit such as painting, potting or playing an instrument.
History, likewise, isn't a haphazard array of facts. On the contrary, it
arranges them in the linear context of time and seeks to demonstrate a
linear interrelationship between events.
>>Isn't it ironic that such a large percentage of those who graduate from
college can relate traumatic experiences with higher math, and confess
never using that information again for the rest of their lives.<<
No. While there are few people who make use of differentiation on a
daily basis, having gained its aquaintance is not an utterly moot
experience. The experience doesn't necessarily have explicit
manifestations, but it can emerge in implicit forms -- like determining
the desirable proportions of materials from the results of a line blend
with ceramic glaze. Sure, few do so with the thought that the process
might be described by differentiation, but in fact it can and knowing
this, while potentially an immediately useful thing, is certainly not by
definition a bad thing.
Here I'll point out that it is exceedingly rare for any degree track art
students to be obliged to study non-linear geometry. On the contrary, in
large part the math courses given to art students are highly rudimentary
-- rarely involving much beyond if 2x + z=32 and x + 3z = 40 then what
are x and y. The solution of equations of this sort are the basis of
deriving such things as "factors" for estimating thermal expansion. As
such, this calls into question what we're calling "higher mathematics".
I would suggest that it's becoming something so banal as the quadratic
equation or basic problem solving.
I am concerned that when I'm in the US I find that far too many young
clerks can't make change without the aid of a machine. Try giving them
the few cents it'd take to round off the change you're to recieve after
they've rung the sale. Call me mean, but I'll admit to doing this on
purpose almost daily and am horrified that the clear majority simply
glaze over. Now, if a person can't make change how are they ever going
to MAKE CHANGE?
Complaining that the context in which mathematics is taught is somehow
irrelevant certainly contradicts my experience in the days before
self-esteem was something you got on your own merits. Moreover, such
complaints are singularly lame and overused excuses for laziness.
KPP -- comtemplating the significance of the rather low pressures shown
on the cutting torch rig's gauges and coming to the conclusion that
he'll need to go buy more acetylene.
Vince Pitelka on mon 14 oct 96
>Complaining that the context in which mathematics is taught is somehow
>irrelevant certainly contradicts my experience in the days before
>self-esteem was something you got on your own merits. Moreover, such
>complaints are singularly lame and overused excuses for laziness.
So Karl, that was an interesting post, if a little scattered. But you just
had to close with a nice juicy insult, huh?
Vince Pitelka - vpitelka@Dekalb.Net
Phone - home 615/597-5376, work 615/597-6801
Appalachian Center for Crafts, Smithville TN 37166
Katherine Villyard on mon 14 oct 96
On Sun, 13 Oct 1996, Karl P. Platt wrote:
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> It seems sort of ridiculous to be arguing the position that mathematics
> are relevant in education, but, hey, it's Saturday and I'm tired of
> grinding (mathematically selected, measured and cut) structural steel
> for the moment.
At the risk of being called a Math Snob or Elitist Mathocrat... :)
I attended a university where math and science were NOT REQUIRED for art
majors. Since I'm one who LIKES math and science, I personally think that
the assumption that creative people are incapable of math and science is
insulting. Unfortunately, I must confess to some hypocrisy, since I
didn't take math and science in order to save time on my degree (I had
originally intended to be a history, art history, or english major, and
was taking classes to see what I liked, not according to degree plan, when
I started). Nevertheless, my math and science scores IMPROVED during
those six years of college, due, in my opinion, to ceramics and weaving.
(Algebra, chemistry, and physics showed the greatest improvement.)
Obviously, I think math and science are VERY valuable to Art (reverse
logic--I obviously used them!). Similarly, I am currently supporting my
art with computers, and believe that Art has greatly improved my sense of
diagnosis and problem-solving. Granted, I am involved in somewhat
technical things, such as chemical reactions during pit fire and dyeing
and dye discharge techniques. I suppose that if you aren't interested in
the more technical aspects of ceramics, you can make a point that you do
not need math or science (although it will make it harder to fix things
that go wrong, IMHO).
And my MFA Ceramics advisor knows his clay and glaze chemistry backwards
and forwards. :) Granted, he graduated from Cranbrook in the 1950s.
> I am concerned that when I'm in the US I find that far too many young
> clerks can't make change without the aid of a machine. Try giving them
> the few cents it'd take to round off the change you're to recieve after
> they've rung the sale. Call me mean, but I'll admit to doing this on
> purpose almost daily and am horrified that the clear majority simply
> glaze over. Now, if a person can't make change how are they ever going
> to MAKE CHANGE?
I am also dismayed by statistics that some startlingly large number of US
high school graduates can't balance their checkbooks. The people on this
list who dislike math are NOT, I assume, in this category. :) This is
not solely the case with math--some other US high school graduates can't
WRITE a check. How's THAT for handicapping a person for life? (However,
if you ARE a person who can't balance your checkbook, it doesn't mean
you're dumb OR incapable of math, it means that your education has not
prepared you to balance your checkbook. Your education should be ashamed,
you should not. Do as I advised a friend, and round up. You'll find
money you never knew in your account.)
As another poster pointed out, computers are related to math, but I don't
imagine many other ClayArt posters regularly deal with octal and
hexidecimal numbers and stick to good ol' base ten (if you don't get it,
don't worry, it's pretty darned obscure and you have to be a programmer
like me or a mathmetician to need octal and hexidecimal math knowlege,
which is my point--you really don't have to know THAT math!). Figuring
out how to use a computer software package takes logic, flexibility, and
creativity, not number-crunching. :) But we aren't talking about "simple
arithmatic," despite what some people may think, we're talking about math
logic--"to cut this formula in half I have to cut all the numbers in
half." Math is sometimes taught as "memorize and regurgitate the
Pythagorean Theorem," which misleads people into thinking they never use
math. On the contrary, whether you realize it or not, every time you
increase or decrease a glaze formula you are using Algebra. :) So I
imagine that many math-haters who swear that they haven't used higher math
since high school have a better grasp on math than they realize. :)
Don't get me wrong, the Pythagorean Theorem is cool,
Katherine the Art Chick