XDG standard: Is Math a Science

James Richard Tyrer tyrerj at acm.org
Tue Feb 10 23:01:13 EET 2004

Martin Waitz wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 10, 2004 at 12:06:47PM +0100, Scott Wheeler wrote:
>>Not sure if you meant to reply to the list or not...
> yes it was, so i'll reply to the list now so everyone can see it.
>>On Tuesday 10 February 2004 11:09, Martin Waitz wrote:
>>>Well ok, i mostly know the german 'wissenschaft' and am not that
>>>familiar with all the english connotations.
>>Yeah, well, and I got confused by them going the other way.  (My native 
>>language is English, but I've been living in Germany for a couple of years.)
>>>so what should we do with the categories?
>>Honestly I think they're probably fine -- like people will still find the 
>>stuff most likely.  The problem is that coming up with a "correct" solution 
>>would require taking the meaning of the words in each language into account 
>>and I don't think anybody cares enough to do that.  ;-)
>>But specifically the words "art" and "science" are almost always fuzzy when 
>>doing translations.
>>Another good example is that you wouldn't call "engineering" a "science" in 
>>English, but it is "Wissenschaft".  :-)

Actually, you have correctly pointed out the problem, but it might not be
what you intended.  There is no commonly used English term that is
equivalent to "Wissenschaft".  As you point out correctly, "Wissenschaft"
does include Science, Mathematics, and Engineering -- unfortunately, there
is no English word for that concept (Knowledge-<something> | scholarship)
-- it is actually a much broader concept than what is included in the
common English usage of Science plus Mathematics, and Engineering.  We use
the term Technology, but I think that mathematicians would still say that
it only included Science and Engineering. :-|

The problem is not limited to that either.  Engineering is not called that
in German either.  That is, it is not based on the agent noun for engineer
in the same way it is in English (Ingenieurwissenschaften).  But,
Mathematics is called that in German (Mathematik) -- it is not

So, I don't really know what the answer is.  However, I do note that the
Categories are going to be in English.  Perhaps that would/should mean that
the "cladistics" should be based on English.


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