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Mathematical science shows what is. It is the language of unseen relations between things. But to use and apply that language, we must be able fully to appreciate, to feel, to seize the unseen, the unconscious.

The first sentence of the wonderful Ada Lovelace seems disappointingly positivistic; but is immediately counteracted by the second one. For it is not about the obvious, the mere appearance, but about the communication between things, and this is anything but visible on the surface. Such a profound empathy for the invisible (and even unconscious) belongs to the supposedly very rational, “logical” mathematics, in order to seriously understand the relations between things and perhaps also between things and humans. (Her male science partner Charles Babbage would certainly not have put it that way!)

 

 

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