## Posts tagged ‘measurement’

November 13, 2011

## The reification of reproductive skew…

I thought that I would revisit reification. It’s been a while since the original discussion and I’ve had this almost written for ages.

I think all of us here at jellymatter agreed that Gould’s reification was not the same as reification as usually used in philosophy: Gould’s reification is sociological, whereas the philosophical term refers to a mistake in thinking (more specifically a category error). This is not to say the two are unrelated. I came across the following passage by Kant which to me summed up exactly what I considered to be happening in Gould’s reification. This bit is about the huge academic effort put into investigating ontological proofs of the existence God – an undoubtedly reified entity:

March 30, 2011

## Things that are annoying and should be done differently

Here are some well-established things that are being done wrong and should be changed.

1. $\pi$

Pi, that most fundamental of mathematical constants.  Except that pretty much whenever you see it in an equation it’s always got a 2 along with it.  This is because pi is defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter when it really should have been defined in relation to the radius instead.  That’s why there’s $2\pi$ radians in a circle instead of $\pi$, which would make more sense.

I was cheered to discover recently that there are others who share this opinion.  The link is to the “Tau Manifesto”.  They make a good argument that one should define a new circle constant represented by the Greek letter $\tau$ (tau), such that $\tau=2\pi$.  I agree with their argument, but still sort-of prefer my own idea, which was to replace $\pi$ by a new character which looks like one $\pi$ stacked on top of another, like this:

$= 2\pi$

This character would be called “cake”, so the above equation would be read “cake equals 2 pie”.  Which is true.

2. Decibels