Mathematica doesn't know what it's doing.
- To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
- Subject: [mg67146] Mathematica doesn't know what it's doing.
- From: "Steven T. Hatton" <hattons at globalsymmetry.com>
- Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2006 04:54:15 -0400 (EDT)
- Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com
I have come to the conclusion that part of my difficulty in getting Mathematica to do what I want is because Mathematica doesn't know what it's doing. That is not to say that Mathematica is doing something wrong. I am speaking in the sense that Russell used when he said: "Thus [pure] mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true." For the most part, Mathematica is a-semantic. That is to say, it is strongly biased toward syntax. This accounts for its strength as a mathematics tool. To a great extent, mathematics is about manipulating symbols with algebraic uniformity. In fields such as document processing, general purpose programming, electronics, systems integration, and even differential geometry, where I have more experience, semantics tend to dominate. So what exactly is it that I am having trouble with? A good example has little to do with Mathematica, per se. It has to do with document preparation. I think in terms of book, part, chapter, section, subsection, theorem, definition, axiom, example, paragraph, etc. These are nested concepts. I want to write a theorem and have it contained in a TheoremBox. I know that Mathematica arranges some textual units hierarchically, but it does this indirectly through the use of GroupBoxes. It may well be that I could accomplish what I want through the creation of style sheets. There are many existing style sheets available, but they seem to lack this semantic aspect of document organization. There is a lot more I could say on this topic, but before I continue, I would like to know what others think about these matters. If anybody knows of a good source which really explains the art of document creation using Mathematica, I am very interested. -- http://www.mathematica-users.org/ http://www.ifi.unizh.ch/math/bmwcs/master.html http://www.w3.org/Math/ http://230nsc1.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html