Math. Dept. Office: DRL 4W1, Ext. 8-8178.

Math. Dept. Undergraduate Program Information

- On Bullshit by Harry Frankfurt,
Princeton University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-691-12294-6. This book is available
from Amazon.
- This book gives a careful philosophical analysis of bullshit. The main distinction Frankfurt draws between lying and bullshit is that liars know the truth and are concerned that their listeners believe something false. Bullshitters are much less concerned with the truth value of what they are saying, or that their listeners literally believe them. They are instead focused on bringing about some other reaction in their listeners, e.g. that the listener will support them in some way. This book has many useful insights, and a good college education should include developing the ability to recognize and classify bullshit. Developing a mathematical theory to go along with Frankfurt's philosophical approach is a main goal of this course. In particular, mathematical game theory will help answer Frankfurt's question about why there is so much bullshit in our culture.
- How math can save your life by James Stein, John Wiley and Sons, 2010.
ISBN 978-0-470-43775-9. This book is available from
Amazon.
- Stein's book gives a better introduction to game theory than many textbooks, and it is written in a far more interesting way. The book includes many amusing topics, and is an excellent example of how with a little imagination one can view many real life situations in a mathematical way.
- For All Practical Purposes
W. H. Freeman, U.S.A.. ISBN: 1-4292-0900-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-429-20900-7.
- This book is available: from Amazon It's not necessary to obtain access to the online materials connected with this book. As far as I can tell, the later editions of the book do not really add value, and cost much more.

- We'll use Skype during online office hours as well as during course podcasts. It's possible to carry on a conference call with 24 people on Skype, and we have 15 class members at the moment. So we can in fact have a conference call which includes everyone in class. Please send an e-mail to me at ted@math.upenn.edu with your Skype name so that I can put you on conference calls. If you think there may be times when it would be more convenient to reach you by phone, please also send a phone number I can use.
- From time to time, I will put both streaming and downloading video on the web. For example, if I have to be out of town for a particular class, I will put a video on the web and I will run a simultaneous Skype conference at our regular class time for a discussion of the video as people watch this. We can experiment with the chat function on Skype, as well as with periodic pauses of the video for discussions.

Last updated: 2/15/18

Send e-mail comments to: ted@math.upenn.edu