contradictions of rationality

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sat Feb 17 14:20:43 MST 2001

Another thing that came up in last night's math class is how certain terms
have a social origin. For example, irrational numbers (like pi, or 22/7)
are not "well behaved" and "predictable" like rational numbers. Also, the
notion of cancellation such as:


leads many people to assume that x = 0, since cancellation and 'nothing'
seem synonymous. Actually x = 1.

At 04:04 PM 2/17/01 -0500, you wrote:
>we tend to see "rationality" as something positive. certainly some forms of
>rationality have a positive result, like medical cures for human suffering.
>however, DU is also the result of rationality. its use is not rational in
>its impact upon the civilian population, but it is rational because it does
>more damage. better bombs are rational because they kill more people. this
>is the dilemma of "rationality." Horkheimer and Adorno once called this THE

Louis Proyect
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