Wikipedia:WikiProject Countering systemic bias/Mathematics

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Wikipedia is a general use encyclopedia intended for everyone. Logic is the study of the principles that govern our rational capacity. It should be a mission of WP to make the concepts of logic accessible to readers.

Back in the day there were no scientists by that name, they were called "natural philosophers." These days science and philosophy only intersect (in an academically recognized way) where there is a frontier: theoretical physics, artificial intelligence, etc. Mathematics is a little different from other "natural sciences." It deals with abstraction, and there is no known limit to the frontier of abstraction.

For certain articles the issue is obvious: Consistency, where there is almost no philosophical treatment even though it is obviously a very important concept for philosophy. A very complete, rigorous article on mathematics may have almost no connection to any other areas. Lack of connections may be because there are none, but it may be that the author and editors are just not in a position to see the connections. The tendency is a self-segregation into mathematics and everything else. The issue is about the organization of articles among each other, and the organization of the outline within some others. The question is what do we do about it?

Subject matter vs POV[edit]

The field of logic has been largely subsumed into mathematics proper. Still, many academics in the field of philosophy publish scholarly work on the subject of logic and the foundations of mathematics. There is a wide body of literature on mathematical topics published by philosophers and "philosophical logicians" which addresses different aspects of the same subject matter. Very often, different terminology is used to describe the same concept. Other times there are concepts which are objects of study for the philosopher, and completely irrelevant to the mathematician.

Is the WP content and organization biased toward mathematics and against philosophy in its logic articles?[edit]

According to Wikipedia article traffic statistics WT:MATH gets almost 20 times as much traffic as WT:PHILO.

Causes[edit]

  • Sheer numbers. There are more mathematicians than there are philosophers on WP.
  • Online presence mathematicians greater than by philosophers.
  • Mathematical culture that is hostile to being seen as a form of philosophy.

Solutions[edit]

  • Make Wikipedians aware of the issue so that they might decide to help work to correct it.
  • Ensure that terminology that is specialized to one field or the other is explicated, rather than omitted from articles.
  • Create lists of missing topics in those under served areas to aid Wikipedians in finding ways to correct bias.
  • Create a list of articles that currently only reflect a mathematical treatment.
  • Rather than only encouraging existing users, attempt to recruit new philosophical logicians to the project who can help counter these biases.
  • Account for any metalogical distinctions in articles on mathematical logic as appropriate.