The World, The Mind and Mathematics

  • John L. Casti
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 258)


Mathematics is a field full of dichotomies: continuous versus discrete, size versus shape, finite versus infinite and static versus dynamic to name just a few. But certainly the most controversial division is the notorious “pure” versus “applied”. And in a provocative 1981 article [1] titled “Applied Mathematics is Bad Mathematics”, Paul Halmos set the fox in among the chickens by claiming that usually the answer is Yes!, and that the reason ultimately comes down to a question of taste. To use one of Halmos’s analogies, a Picasso portrait is usually regarded as better art than a police photograph of a wanted criminal But the Picasso is probably not a very good likeness, while the police photo is far from inspiring to look at. So is it completely unfair to say that the portrait is a bad copy of nature and the photograph is bad art?


Game Theory Price Vector Minimax Theorem Equilibrium Economic Vertex Point 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • John L. Casti
    • 1
  1. 1.Santa Fe InstituteUSA

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