Sunday, August 2, 2015

Math, Music... Pornography

Today's Sunday reflection, from Michael Harris in "Mathematics Without Apologies":

"Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker has a more functional point of view. What pure mathematics and music have most clearly in common is that they both fit Pinker's definition of 'cheesecake,' 'unlike anything in the natural world because it is a brew of megadoses of agreeable stimuli which we concocted for the express purpose of pressing our pleasure buttons. Pornography is another pleasure technology... [T]he arts are a third.' Pure mathematics would appear to be a fourth, and what it shares with the arts, and with music in particular, is that, unlike cheesecake or even pornography, its variety is literally limitless."

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