Mathematics, Purpose, + Truth was a segment that featured Janna Levin, a theoretical physicist who wrote a novel named A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines. She began her career in science with little interest, instead she thought that philosophy was asking all of the really good questions. Obviously she still pursued her career as a physicist but she has a special interest in areas where the scientific meets the philosophical. Specifically, she is interested in areas where truth cannot be defined or where truth is entirely humanly constructed.
One of the underlying concepts of her book was the idea that not all mathematical truths can be proven to be true but rather must just be accepted. Along these lines she talks extensively about what is real, what is not, and how we can tell the difference. Another idea that she brought up was that our convincing intuitions are specific to the type of beings that we are. An example that she brings up is that our visual perception quality peaks at the frequency for the color yellow, which is the color of the sun. She states that we are formed in a way that helps us decode the world around us. One of the other interesting points that she brings up is the idea of voting for government officials. This is an entirely humanly created process that she thinks is peculiar that we can all come together and agree to respect and follow the leadership of one man. As a student who is studying sociology at the same time, this podcast stresses the value in having the ability to distill the elements and the means of sociology and examine them individually for their truths. Janna Levin is not confined by social norms but chooses to see past them, not out of rebellion but as an exploration of what might be real that lies outside what we think is real.
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