# The Purification of Cryptography: Reactionary Mathematics & Random Oracles

#### Contributor(s)

#### Session

Cryptography and Privacy in Context

#### Abstract

I will provide an initial exploratory history of cryptographic debates over the Random Oracle Model, using the analytical framework of Massimo Mazzotti’s “Reactionary Mathematics: A Genealogy of Purity” to draw out the political work done by invoking mathematical purity. In this view, math is seen as a self-contained body of knowledge validated by its secure foundations, not by pragmatic usefulness. Then I will open up discussion of such questions as: Have participants observed other debates over mathematical purity that resonate, or do not resonate, with these histories? What other impacts of the purification of cryptography have participants noticed? What could it look like to return to impurity in cryptography? Can we argue that impurity is more rigorous than purity? Can we do this in a way that returns to “revolutionary” aims without being captured by for-profit industry motives? What makes a mathematical abstraction “good”? What are useful methods for designing good abstractions?