The Illusory Unity

I will be out of town for a few days for Thanksgiving, so there won’t be any posts from me for the next few days.

Mathematical textbooks take pains to make their subject appear to form a unified whole. Is any such unity an illusion? Discuss.

2 thoughts on “The Illusory Unity

  1. Mathematics is unified – our job as mathematicians is to discover that unity.

    The pathetic attempts by some textbooks to creat the impression of unity by cobbling together a bit of this and a bit of that, while leaving plenty of important stuff out, should not be held against mathematics.

    There are even books that talk about groups but not group actions.

  2. Thanks for lobbing the softball into my wheelhouse (or whatever the proper metaphore would be) Walt, but I think I shall refrain from my standard diatribe on the motivations of textbook authors (by just subtly alluding to it :).

    You had me going there for a second, John, I was all set to jump to the bait, till I realized that what you said was impossible. You can’t even define a normal subgroup then.

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