A mathematician is like a naturalist

Temitope Ajileye, Medium, Sept 20, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This is a great short article, and you won't need to understand any math (or biology) to comprehend the significance. Even more important, the core questions asked by mathematician-naturalists are also core questions in knowledge and learning:

  • How similar can something be to a tiger, before it is a tiger?
  • How much of a tiger do I have to see before I can say 'There is a tiger’ ?

In the article this is depicted as a question of classification and categories (and by implication, set theory and the foundations of logic) but when I look at these questions I see them as being about rcognition. We in the fields of knowledge and education ask, "what creates the concept of 'tiger' in people", and "how do they know when they're seen one?"

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