## Zero Probability

“It isn’t. I think it isn’t…”

*This is my translation of “Pravděpodobnost nula”,
a beautiful meditation in mathematics and philosophy by Petr Klán.*

Vita Smid a.k.a. Zephyrus

Mathematics, philosophy, code, travel and everything in between. More about me…

“It isn’t. I think it isn’t…”

*This is my translation of “Pravděpodobnost nula”,
a beautiful meditation in mathematics and philosophy by Petr Klán.*

Never lift you hand from the finished work, for you could actually finish it.

In my personal philosophy, I’m leaning towards determinism: the view that our actions, decisions, and destinies are somehow decided – *determined* – in advance. However, I am able to differentiate at least between two types of determinism. Both have their issues, both need to be thought through more, and neither of them wins the argument for me. What about you?

There’s a great new comic at Spiked Math: It’s a small world (after all). Be sure to check it out even if you are not a mathematician. Using mathematical reasoning, the comic asserts that **the number of ways you could lead your life is finite**, in other words, there is a limit to what you could do in your life. I strongly disagree, and I can **disprove** this assertion using the very same tool: mathematics :-)

“Mathematicians attach a great importance to the elegance of their results, and this is not mere dilettantism. What is it that gives us the feeling of elegance in a solution or a demonstration?…”

We use natural numbers 1, 2, 3,… (sometimes including zero) in everyday life so obviously, so effortlessly, and so automatically that it hardly ever occurs to us to ask what they actually *are*. What *is* a natural number? How do you *define* twenty-seven? Let us take a brief look at three approaches, ranging from Plato to the present day, that try to set down a formal definition of the fundamental term *number*.

The works of the philosopher, logician, and mathematician Bertrand Russell are always a pleasant reading. Be it because of the appeal of the topic, eloquent style, profound treatment… or his occasional kind jest.

Notes to self. Quoted from Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν, a philosophical book by Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 CE), a Roman emperor.

A high-school teacher once openly derided a pupil for his English pronunciation. “After four years of high school study, I would expect something more worthy of thy education”, saith the teacher. “Many a word have thou utterly transmogrified by thy unbecoming articulation, and thy discourse was not a little difficult to understand and make sense of.” Not content with abasing the pupil thus, he chided him yet more.