Sunday, August 25, 2013

Retrospective Precognition And My Fall Education Plan

Retrospective Precognition
and
My Fall Education Plan

Retrospective Precognition: When you see, think, hear, or read something and your realize that you were thinking about just this idea some time in the recent past and are astonished that now you are seeing the same idea in a completely unrelated context.  You wonder if somehow what you were doing in the recent past either presaged your current experience or perhaps subtly influenced your behavior to steer you into the present circumstance where the overlap with recent experience occurs.  

A couple of years ago I read a very good biography of Alfred Tarski "Alfred Tarski: Life and Logic".  I really enjoyed the anecdote about his article in the June 1969 Scientific American "On Truth and Proof". 

Recently I went as far as to purchase an original copy of the June 1969 Scientific American and began re-reading the article.  The article is available at Scribd.COM.  Of course I did scan the Scientific American pages into a .PDF file and am reading it on my tablet device and have carefully put back in the shipping materials the original magazine.
 
The other day I open my email and see the new MOOCs offered this fall from Coursera and I found the course that I started last fall but never completed is offered again this fall: "Introduction to Mathematical Thinking" by Keith Devlin.

So, I signed up for the course (again) in hopes that I will have time to get through the whole thing this time. When watching the preview video on YouTube.COM I notice another course that is referenced in the closing panel of the video: "Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy" by Hannes Leitgeb and Stephan Hartmann. This course had already begun so I signed up for it too an started catching up on the lectures.

I am very impressed with Dr. Leitgeb and the style and content of his presentations.  And then, when he started the lecture on 'TRUTH' I had my moment of Retrospective Precognition.  He was going through Tarski's 1969 article in Scientific American, with, of course lots of very well stated content that does enhance the original article.

This motivated me to (via some of the links in the lecture) to chase down and order the newest edition to my library: Tarski's "Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics: Papers from 1923 to 1938". This book is the 1983 version translated (with added notes) by Tarski.

This book goes very well with my current 'new-book' Moore's "Zermelo's Axiom of Choice".

So my fall education is well mapped out now.  All I have to do is stick to my MOOCs and my new books and I will be fine.