Al Erisman Saturday – What Does Mathematics Have to Do with Life?

Specialists need to know a lot about mathematics, but does this discipline have anything to do with daily life? Alfred North Whitehead once wrote, “but the ideas [about mathematics] are of highly special application, and rarely influence thought.” Though mathematics is generally taught as a precise, quantifiable tool, I believe Whitehead is wrong. In this talk I will show how mathematics gives insight into these questions: Which is more important, this, or that? Why do two intelligent people see issues in such polar extremes? How can God be very present and near, and yet totally invisible? And if we have time: How do we introduce change into an organization? Why must “maximizing shareholder value subject to the constraints of the law” lead to ethical failure?

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