December 02, 2002

The Puzzle Instinct, Marcel Danesi

I came nowhere near finishing this. I knew I wouldn't by page 17.

On page 15, he quotes Fibonacci's description of fecund rabbits in a cage. Two pages later- the two pages are a repetitive explanation of how the numbers of rabbits grow - he says

"Reification" is the term used by philosophers to refer to serendipitous actual manifestations of something that was originally conceived as an abstraction or as a figment of mind.
Why would this solution to a simple puzzle reveal patterns in the real world? There is, to my knowledge, no definitive answer to this question; nor, probably, can there ever be one.
But this wasn't conceived as a figment of mind; it's a perfectly realistic question. has this man never met a rabbit? had he no gerbils as a child? Was he so desperate to use the word 'reification'?

After some more clumsy explanations of simple mathematics, followed by what I think were equally clumsy arguments about the ineffability of the human mind and its puzzling, I gave up. So wrote clew in Philosophy.

And thus wrote others:
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