On Sat, 18 Nov 2000, H. S. Teoh wrote:

> On Sat, Nov 18, 2000 at 02:52:09PM -0500, Yoon Ha Lee wrote:
> >  As both a math major ("rational," at least
> > until you try to visualize three-dimensional space-filling curves <G>)
> You mean *four*-dimensional space-filling curves :-P (Or an infinite
> dimensional gasket that has zero volume...)

No, I can't even visualize the darn things for the 3-dimensional case,
though I'm fine with plain-vanilla Peano curves.  (I once met a mountain
road that was a frighteningly good approximation.  My sister was about to
throw up from car-sickness and my dad, who was driving, was looking
pretty green, and they *both* were irritated at me because I wasn't
affected at all!)

I can visualize Menger sponges but alas, nothing of higher-dimension.  I
do love looking at two-dimensional renditions of three-dimensional
"slices" of four-spheres, though.  Quite lovely.

> > and a sf/fantasy writer ("intuitive")--well, I'm used to having to take
> > both approaches in different contexts.  At least, if there's a nice,
> > rational algorithm for writing good sf/f I'd love to know about it.  =^)
> [snip]
> Hmm. I find that I'm simultaneously "rational" and "intuitive". Or perhaps
> you might say I'm intuitively rational, since the way I learn is to
> internalize the subject (eg. math or logic or what-have-you), and then
> follow my "gut feeling" about the subject when solving problems. The
> actual working-out of the details (eg. in a math/logic proof, or in the
> following of a "rational" procedure) is just a mechanical task that's
> wrapped around this "gut feeling" to "make it presentable".

"Gut feeling" has rarely worked for me in math.  :-/  I "internalize"
things when I'm learning language with relative ease.  My German class is
a joke, and I'm doing pretty decently with teaching myself Latin out of
Wheelock.  For some reason my mind assimilates language-forms far more
easily than math-forms.  (I don't claim to be a language genius; I'm
better than average, but "genius" would go to people like my friend Abby,
who's fluent in Arabic, Spanish, English, French and Korean and last I
heard was working on Chinese due to a certain boyfriend.)  I'm loath to
classify this as either "rational" or "intuitive."

You are fortunate to have the ability to "follow your nose" in math.  I
can sometimes come close (when I can't solve a proof, I write down an
outline of approaches I might take; TA's sometimes give partial credit
for such things) but it doesn't come naturally.  :-p  But that's why I'm
a math major: so I can learn something from professors that I would find
terribly difficult to learn on my own!  And I find that I know material
best about a year *after* I've learned it, mainly because my mind has
given up resisting it.  <laugh>

ObConlang: Is there any distinction between "reason" and "intuition" in
y'all's conlangs, or perhaps a different division of this
semantic-space?  How is it reflected in forms of discourse, if at all?

I've run across something similar to this this in tutoring writing, because
while U.S. universities
favor "deductively" structured essays, we run into international students
who write essays inductively (among other things, you find their theses
at the end, not the beginning, of the paper) and have to explain to them
that the discourse-mode is different at Cornell U. (specific case,
anyway).  Personally, I find well-written inductive-mode essays just as
fun to read, and sometimes more fun because of the suspense, as
deductive-mode essays.