Thing-a-day #5: A little transcribing

This is from an interview I conducted with undergraduate math majors. We were talking about the idea of a “math genius” and what that means.

anyone who’s proficient at [math] is sort of seen as like proficient, it it sort of just seems almost incomprehensible

So he’s skeptical about the idea of the math genius. In a sense, he’s saying, people who don’t understand math, don’t even understand how it’s possible to understand math, so they feel that people who do understand math must be put together differently from you and me. This fits in well with what I said yesterday about epistemicity. Math is basically a way of knowing.

But on top of that, look at all the hedging he does: sort of, like, just, almost. What’s up with that? Maybe, since he’s putting words in the mouths of non-“math people,” he’s acknowledging that he can’t speak for them with complete certainty. But that’s just my first impression; I’ll have to see what role hedging plays in other parts of the interview. In any case, it struck me that such an expression of uncertainty would show up in a discussion of math, the domain with the most possibility of absolute certainty.

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2 comments on “Thing-a-day #5: A little transcribing
  1. Heather says:

    Hello! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m absolutely enjoying
    your blog and look forward to new updates.

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