This is a collection of "just combinatorics" quotes by various authors, casually referring to Combinatorics in a dismissive manner. Some of these may have been simply poorly worded sentences which read unfortunate nonetheless. This is a complement to our earlier collection of quotes describing combinatorics (some positive, some negative and some on point). For most disparaging quotes there, see quotes by George Dantzig and Jean Dieudonné.
P.S. I compiled these collection while writing this blog post, but expanded it later.
The proof of [Equation] amounts to just combinatorics and will be ommited (sic.) here.
The rest of the calculation is just combinatorics.
Although Lemma 2 can be proved using just combinatorics, a nice intuition for this lemma comes by proving it using topological arguments
One may claim that probability theory is just combinatorics; however, as is often the case, good notations (let alone notions) are instrumental to more complex studies.
You can cook up an expression using just combinatorics, and this has pros and cons, but here we want to model the problem with operators.
It is now known that connections between friezes and cluster algebras are deeper than just combinatorics.
The following lemma is just combinatorics.
Note: quantum statistics is just combinatorics! (the quantum lies outside it)
To construct S, first show (this is just combinatorics) that...
The rest is just combinatorics.
The key ingredient is figuring out what to count and how to count it. In the end, everything is just combinatorics all the way down!
The new point of view is that formal matrix integrals are just a nice way to write the combinatorics of maps; they are identical to generating functions of maps. Manipulating them is just combinatorics.
We show that no algebra, but just combinatorics is sufficient for the deletion theorem.
This is an example where computers are going beyond what humans can do. And whether we call it creative or not, it is just combinatorics.
Compare these with the following quote by Paul Gunnells:
Never refer to any mathematical problem by "But it’s just combinatorics".
This is reported by Anders Björner in this tribute (2006). Unfortunately, the original advice is aimed only at students talking to Robert MacPherson. We believe this advice is more universal. We do not believe there is any context or any circumstance at all when "just combinatorics" can be used.
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Last updated: 5/30/2021.