Up to Snuff #45: Crime Fiction or the Detective Novel and Theory of Probability, How Mathematics May have been a Catalyst By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

 

Up to Snuff #45:  Crime Fiction or the Detective Novel and Theory of Probability, How Mathematics May Have Been a Catalyst

By Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

Perhaps it was the inclusion of local events that made detective novels popular to the masses.  In “Crime Fiction’s” Chapter 3 it says, “Juxtaposing fragmented selections of events from the contemporary world (became) a form of amusement for the mass public.”  (Priestman, Crime Fiction, page 41)  It may have also been the inclusion of social phenomenon outside the norm like “Experiences of a Lady Detective” in fields where women were just beginning to enter after World War I which may have been radical and was cited as written anonymously.  It was also likely very exciting the inclusion of contemporary science and technology in Arthur B. Reeves or in L.T. Meade’s “Stories from the Diary of a Doctor,” or perhaps naturalist works which were found in Arnold Bennett, HG Wells and Arthur Morrison’s “A Child of the Jago.”   What often occurred in detective novels was a pulling of events from newspapers which could create a stir when literary parallels current events.  The use of the detective short story in magazines likely also contributed to its mass popularity.

Feeding from the media and current events can be interesting.  How current events or items in the news get reinvented. In the art world especially, African Art, alot gets pulled from the media to work on when researching the human condition.  When you pull from the news in art you can get historical works.  The chronology at the front of, “The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction,” was really great in tying in world events with literary events that sprouted soon after.  The bibliographies, bios, and chronology are really fantastic to peruse and spend a great deal of time on them-it was nice to see “these elements” and utilize them to better one’s own writing and research.

In “Murder of the Rue Morgue” by Edgar Allan Poe, early imagery about games leads one to think about the “eliminations” as in chess within investigations or what was described later as the “Theory of Probabilities.” Poe wrote that, “Coincidences, in general are great stumbling blocks in the way of the class of thinkers who have been educated to know nothing of the Theory of Probabilities-that theory to which the most glorious objects of human research are indebted for the most glorious of illustration.” (Poe, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, page 25) Theory of Probabilities may have been the actual foundation for detective, mystery and crime based fiction as well as many “games” (Chess etc.) that were emerging that may have been based on the pioneering “Murders of the Rue Morgue” publication in 1841, one of the first, or vice a versa. Writers may have become enchanted with deduction as means of exaltation. There may have been subtle clues like the use of what appeared to be a vintage spelling of clue, “clew,” that was claw like.  There was also the name “Moreau” that suggested “more water” which could have led one to a sailor or having a water relation.  Perhaps the sailor was an “assailant” and clearly evident was an adjacent assailant with a claw. The actual use of the word assailant later on may have paid homage to Poe, as a pioneer or perhaps the initiator of this genre.  The use of mockery by an ourang-outang of the sailor with a razor was interesting and perhaps Darwinian.  The choice of passive killer was interesting as well as the birth imagery via the “thrusting up a chimney head downward.” The language around the “united vigor of several persons” was beautiful. (Poe, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Pg. 25)   In Poe’s Murder of the Rue Morgue, there were undertones that could impact foreign affairs; there was almost a theory of man, his birth, his war and his evolution.

Perhaps it was in fact the unity in scholarship that paralleled mathematics to mystery when using the deductive processes like for example an algebraic equation and “solve for x.” Many early writers were in fact scholars and mathematics was in its prime.  Areas in mathematics that could relate to the advent of detective novels were finite math, probability and statistics, and algebra.  Detective novels were likely also made popular by the male macho that enjoys exaltation and may find pleasure in the suspense or the chase.

 

Priestman, Martin, The Cambridge Companion to Crime Fiction, Cambridge University Press, 2004

Poe, Edgar Allan, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” Classic Crime Stories, Edited by James Daley, Dover Publications, 2007, Pg. 1-34

 

 

 

Mathematics and Natural Language

By, Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu

There was once a technical writing class that gave the assignment to take a specific piece of conversation and write next to every line either “warrant” or “claim.”[1] It was as if all conversation were shaped by this basic “volley” and formula.

Life is perhaps rooted in this method where one offers supports, proofs and eventually warrants a claim, to build a basic conversation. Daily conversation is similar to the process of “justified true belief” in the epistemic pursuit of knowledge-people go about making claims and offering proof within regular conversation.

In the book “Mathematics of Language,” language descriptions are made in regards to the use of “known algorithms that parse ‘context free language’ (CFL’s) in cubic time or less.”[2] Apparently, there are “math models that are especially suited to the natural languages.”[3]

Logic from mathematics may be the foundation of natural language. Logic may be what lies right below our conversation.

“The natural languages are the familiar class of the formal languages that were also described as the input evidence available to children and learnable.”[4]

When looking at the foundations of mathematics there were parallels made about mathematics and Platonism, Formalism, Logicism, Constructivism and Geometrical perspectives.  [5]

The book Mathematics and the Natural Sciences highlighted “analyses of human cognition,” philosophy of knowledge and mathematics impact or service to highly “mathematized” physics and biology.[6]

The following describes “Mathematics has “rational coherence,” deals with “matter” and “of life,” “living” and “inert,” is reducible, has phenomenalities, -simultaneous measurement, position and momentum, physical time and space via living phenomena.”

Mathematics has cognitive foundations such as those in logic.

Footnotes

[1] Eastern Michigan University, Professor Benninghoff, Technical Writing

[2] Mathematics of Language: Proceedings of a conference held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, October 1984, Contributor, Manaster-Ramer, Alexis, John Benjamins Publishing Company, January 1987, pg. 3

[3] Mathematics of Language: Proceedings of a conference held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, October 1984, Contributor, Manaster-Ramer, Alexis, John Benjamins Publishing Company, January 1987, pg. 1

[4] Mathematics of Language: Proceedings of a conference held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, October 1984, Contributor, Manaster-Ramer, Alexis, John Benjamins Publishing Company, January 1987, pg. 1

[5] Longo, Giuseppe. ADVANCES IN COMPUTER SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING: TEXTS : MATHEMATICS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES : The Physical Singularity of Life. River Edge, US: Imperial College Press, 2011. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 7 February 2017. Pg. v

[6] Longo, Giuseppe. ADVANCES IN COMPUTER SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING: TEXTS : MATHEMATICS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES : The Physical Singularity of Life. River Edge, US: Imperial College Press, 2011, pg. vii

[7] Longo, Giuseppe. ADVANCES IN COMPUTER SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING: TEXTS : MATHEMATICS AND THE NATURAL SCIENCES : The Physical Singularity of Life. River Edge, US: Imperial College Press, 2011, pg. viii

A Learned Man, Skyscrapers and Ships

We spoke at a time he was feeling low self-esteem and to bolster him, it was expressed to me an ability to build both skyscrapers and ships-“I am a learned man, he said.”

If I were to draft a letter to my children, it would include suggestions for their education and pursuit of knowledge. To get into “schools of knowledge” was my initial idea. I thought it was possible to work on what I call “Preparations” and select a time period or speak to an era.

For example, one professor’s internet profile: A Biologist, Researcher, Naturalist and Author. On another page, it read an Entomologist or Evolutionary Biologist. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see the myriad titles and credentials scholars and scientists have assumed over the ages?

Albert Einstein, the Founder of Earth, studied towards 17 degrees at Oxford University which include the following:

Albert Einstein’s 17 degrees were:

  • Writing
  • Math
  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Earth Science
  • Language
  • Culinary
  • Music
  • Accounting
  • Law
  • Geometry (Early Engineering tied to)
  • Algebra
  • Art
  • Painting
  • Manufacturing
  • Architecture
  • Building

I found it really intriguing that Geometry related to early Engineering. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have a nice collection of old math books? I found algebra completely satisfying. I have enjoyed drafting simple formulas that I thought could be applied to an endowment strategy. One could obtain a lot of mileage out of an Algebra degree.

I have had many thoughts and built a research around education, knowledge, intelligence, learning, thinking abilities and wisdom. Wisdom can relate to the number of wise decisions one makes in their life. One can even work on their being to create an “Intelligent Being,” with perhaps intelligent hands or intelligent eyes or feet. I want to advance my hand. I thought my father had a beautiful penmanship from engineering school and drafting.

I think its important to work from a scaffolding of questions to “notch and notch”, work on the “keys to our existence” and existentialism.

The other day I was making notes about the “ciclo” or era which began with necessity and guided manufacturing.  One can draw a right angle to populate a list downwards that pertains to era then at a 45 degree angle illustrate in words a “cross thread” then on the horizontal mark apply your research.  Its possible to unlock something sage and begin to draw non-stop.

I would love to teach a “Crux Class” and cover Universe studies and Nuclear Energy.  It would be interesting to tell them to linger for 100 years or so and cover manifestation and pouring an idea into a form.  Become a “Future Thinker.”