# [lit-ideas] Re: Benoit Mandelbrot

*From*: cblists@xxxxxxxx
*To*: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
*Date*: Thu, 21 Oct 2010 09:54:14 +0200

On 17-Oct-10, at 12:26 PM, Donal McEvoy wrote:

`Important thinker whose work arguably has important philosophical
``implications - for example, on the relation between maths and physics
``and on information theory, whatever that is.
`
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11560101

`One wonders whether article and headlines were written by two
``different people; or whether the BBC wished to side-step - by
``straddling (interesting image, that) - the 'mathematics is a process
``of discovery of essential elements (Platonists read: 'Archetypal
``Forms') of reality' / 'mathematics is a creative enterprise
``(Wittgensteinians read: 'language game') of great value in the
``development of a (Instrumentalists add: 'workable') picture of
``reality' controversy.
`

`In the sub-headline of the BBBC article (emphasis added): "Benoit
``Mandelbrot, who *discovered* mathematical shapes known as fractals,
``has died of cancer at the age of 85."
`

`In the body of the article (again, emphasis added): "Mandelbrot, who
``had joint French and US nationality, *developed* fractals as a
``mathematical way of understanding the infinite complexity of nature."
`

`I once asked a mathematician whether he thought he was discovering or
``constructing his methods and results. He was decidedly in the
``Platonist camp.
`
Chris Bruce,
Kiel, Germany
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