Summary: Philosophy of Mathematics: 5 Questions
Department of Philosophy
Carnegie Mellon University
February 1, 2007
1 Why I am a logician
In 1977, when I was nine years old, Doubleday released Asimov on Numbers,
a collection of essays that had first appeared in Isaac Asimov's Science Fic-
tion and Fantasy column. My mother, recognizing my penchant for science
fiction and mathematics, bought me a copy as soon as it hit the bookstores.
The essays covered topics such as number systems, combinatorial curiosi-
ties, imaginary numbers, and . I was especially taken, however, by an
essay titled "Varieties of the infinite," which included a photograph and
short biographical sketch of Georg Cantor, and a brief introduction to his
theory of the infinite.
Not long after, for my tenth birthday, my parents gave me a calculator.
I had requested Texas Instruments' model TI-30, but my father surprised
me with an SR-40, which had essentially the same functionality but came
with a rechargeable battery. I did not know what all the buttons did, but I
soon learned, from the manual, how to convert degrees to radians, and how