Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder
It's already 11:30. But so much to tell! …
Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.
It's already 11:30. But so much to tell! For example, I visited Professor Warren today. Whilst waiting for him to arrive, I saw John Searle. John Searle! I worked in this building for a year and I never knew that John Searle worked a hundred feet from me! My word!
I meant to ask Professor Warren about counterfactuals when I went to his office hours, but I found myself telling him that I was ready for more logic than he's giving the class, and he showed me the sort of thing we'd be doing later in the course by making up a truth-function and asking me to show whether it was associative and whether it was commutative.
Taking that chalk in my hand thrilled me. It turned me on in a way that few events have. And I did it! I showed that it was associative, and it wasn't commutative, and he said that I had gone about it in the right way. That felt great!
And he told me about Gödel, and completeness, and consistency, and he reassured me that the system of deductive logic that we're using in this course is weak enough to be both complete and consistent (although I may be getting my terms wrong there).
I had to go because other students wanted to see him. I could have stayed there for hours, drinking his thoughts.
I never did get to asking him to clarify why we're not treating the counterfactual as a valid material conditional. Sorry, Leonard.