This is a concise introductory textbook for a one semester course in the history and philosophy of mathematics. It is written for mathematics majors, philosophy students, history of science students and secondary school mathematics teachers. The only prerequisite is a solid command of pre-calculus mathematics. It is shorter than the standard textbooks in that area and thus more accessible to students who have trouble coping with vast amounts of reading. Furthermore, there are many detailed (...) explanations of the important mathematical procedures actually used by famous mathematicians, giving more mathematically talented students a greater opportunity to learn the history and philosophy by way of problem solving. Several important philosophical topics are pursued throughout the text, giving the student an opportunity to come to a full and consistent knowledge of their development. These topics include infinity, the nature of motion, and Platonism. This book offers, in fewer pages, a deep penetration into the key mathematical and philosophical aspects of the history of mathematics. (shrink)
This edited volume, aimed at both students and researchers in philosophy, mathematics and history of science, highlights leading developments in the overlapping areas of philosophy and the history of modern mathematics. It is a coherent, wide ranging account of how a number of topics in the philosophy of mathematics must be reconsidered in the light of the latest historical research and how a number of historical accounts can be deepened by embracing philosophical questions.
The Companion Encyclopedia is the first comprehensive work to cover all the principal lines and themes of the history and philosophy of mathematics from ancient times up to the twentieth century. In 176 articles contributed by 160 authors of 18 nationalities, the work describes and analyzes the variety of theories, proofs, techniques, and cultural and practical applications of mathematics. The work's aim is to recover our mathematical heritage and show the importance of mathematics today by treating (...) its interactions with the related disciplines of physics, astronomy, engineering and philosophy. It also covers the history of higher education in mathematics and the growth of institutions and organizations connected with the development of the subject. Part 1 deals with mathematics in various ancient and non-Western cultures from antiquity up to medieval and Renaissance times. Part 2 treats developments in all the main areas of mathematics during the medieval and Renaissance periods up to and including the early 17th century. Parts 3-10 are divided into the main branches into which mathematics developed from the early 17th century onwards: calculus and mathematical analysis, logic and foundations, algebras, geometries, mechanics, mathematical physics and engineering, and probability and statistics. Parts 11-13 review the history of mathematics from an international perspective. The teaching of mathematics in higher education is examined in various countries, and mathematics in culture, art and society is covered. The Companion Encyclopedia features annotated bibliographies of both classic and contemporary sources; black and white illustrations, line figures and equations; biographies of major mathematicians and historians and philosophers of mathematics; a chronological table of main events in the developments of mathematics; and a fully integrated index of people, events and topics. (shrink)
Gilles Deleuze’s engagements with mathematics, replete in his work, rely upon the construction of alternative lineages in the history of mathematics, which challenge some of the self imposed limits that regulate the canonical concepts of the discipline. For Deleuze, these challenges provide an opportunity to reconfigure particular philosophical problems – for example, the problem of individuation – and to develop new concepts in response to them. The highly original research presented in this book explores the mathematical construction (...) of Deleuze’s philosophy, as well as addressing the undervalued and often neglected question of the mathematical thinkers who influenced his work. -/- In the wake of Alain Badiou’s recent and seemingly devastating attack on the way the relation between mathematics and philosophy is configured in Deleuze’s work, Simon Duffy offers a robust defence of the structure of Deleuze’s philosophy and, in particular, the adequacy of the mathematical problems used in its construction. By reconciling Badiou and Deleuze’s seeming incompatible engagements with mathematics, Duffy succeeds in presenting a solid foundation for Deleuze’s philosophy, rebuffing the recent challenges against it. -/- Simon B. Duffy is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Yale-NUS College, Singapore, and Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is the author of The Logic of Expression: Quality, Quantity, and Intensity in Spinoza, Hegel and Deleuze (2006). (shrink)
Social revolutions--that is critical periods of decisive, qualitative change--are a commonly acknowledged historical fact. But can the idea of revolutionary upheaval be extended to the world of ideas and theoretical debate? The publication of Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in 1962 led to an exciting discussion of revolutions in the natural sciences. A fascinating, but little known, off-shoot of this was a debate which began in the United States in the mid-1970's as to whether the concept of revolution could (...) be applied to mathematics as well as science. Michael Grove declared that revolutions never occur in mathematics, while Joseph Dauben argued that there have been mathematical revolutions and gave some examples. This book is the first comprehensive examination of the question. It reprints the original papers of Grove, Dauben, and Mehrtens, together with additional chapters giving their current views. To this are added new contributions from nine further experts in the history of mathematics, who each discuss an important episode and consider whether it was a revolution. The whole question of mathematical revolutions is thus examined comprehensively and from a variety of perspectives. This thought-provoking volume will interest mathematicians, philosophers, and historians alike. (shrink)
Figures of Thought looks at how mathematical works can be read as texts and examines their textual strategies. David Reed offers the first sustained and critical attempt to find a consistent argument or narrative thread in mathematical texts. Reed selects mathematicians from a range of historical periods and compares their approaches to organizing and arguing texts, using an extended commentary on Euclid's Elements as a central structuring framework. He develops fascinating interpretations of mathematicians' work throughout history, from Descartes to (...) Hilbert, Kronecker, Dedekind, Weil and Grothendieck. Reed traces the implications of this approach to the understanding of the history and development of mathematics. (shrink)
Volume 9 of the Routledge History of Philosophy surveys ten key topics in the Philosophy of Science, Logic and Mathematics in the Twentieth Century. Each article is written by one of the world's leading experts in that field. The papers provide a comprehensive introduction to the subject in question, and are written in a way that is accessible to philosophy undergraduates and to those outside of philosophy who are interested in these subjects. Each chapter contains an extensive bibliography (...) of the major writings in the field. Among the topics covered are the philosophy of logic; Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus; a survey of logical positivism; the philosophy of physics and of science; probability theory and cybernetics. (shrink)
In this book, which is both a philosophical and historiographical study, the author investigates the fallibility and the rationality of mathematics by means of rational reconstructions of developments in mathematics. The initial chapters are devoted to a critical discussion of Lakatos' philosophy of mathematics. In the remaining chapters several episodes in the history of mathematics are discussed, such as the appearance of deduction in Greek mathematics and the transition from Eighteenth-Century to Nineteenth-Century analysis. The (...) author aims at developing a notion of mathematical rationality that agrees with the historical facts. A modified version of Lakatos' methodology is proposed. The resulting constructions show that mathematical knowledge is fallible, but that its fallibility is remarkably weak. (shrink)
Diagrams are ubiquitous in mathematics. From the most elementary class to the most advanced seminar, in both introductory textbooks and professional journals, diagrams are present, to introduce concepts, increase understanding, and prove results. They thus fulfill a variety of important roles in mathematical practice. Long overlooked by philosophers focused on foundational and ontological issues, these roles have come to receive attention in the past two decades, a trend in line with the growing philosophical interest in actual mathematical practice.
This article canvasses five senses in which one might introduce an historical element into the philosophy of mathematics: 1. The temporal dimension of logic; 2. Explanatory Appeal to Context rather than to General Principles; 3. Heraclitean Flux; 4. All history is the History of Thought; and 5. History is Non-Judgmental. It concludes by adapting Bernard Williams’ distinction between ‘history of philosophy’ and ‘history of ideas’ to argue that the philosophy of mathematics is unavoidably (...) historical, but need not and must not merge with historiography. (shrink)
The thirty year long friendship between Imre Lakatos and the classic scholar and historian of mathematics Árpád Szabó had a considerable influence on the ideas, scholarly career and personal life of both scholars. After recalling some relevant facts from their lives, this paper will investigate Szabó's works about the history of pre-Euclidean mathematics and its philosophy. We can find many similarities with Lakatos' philosophy of mathematics and science, both in the self-interpretation of early axiomatic Greek (...) class='Hi'>mathematics as Szabó reconstructs it, and in the general overview Szabó provides us about the turn from the intuitive methods of Greek mathematicians to the strict axiomatic method of Euclid's Elements. As a conclusion, I will argue that the correct explanation of these similarities is that in their main works they developed ideas they had in common from the period of intimate intellectual contact in Hungarian academic life in the mid-twentieth century. In closing, I will recall some relevant features of this background that deserve further research. (shrink)
Duhem's portrayal of the history of mathematics as manifesting calm and regular development is traced to his conception of mathematical rigor as an essentially static concept. This account is undermined by citing controversies over rigorous demonstration from the eighteenth and twentieth centuries.
Choosing the history of statistics and operations research as a casestudy, several ways of setting the development of 20th century applied mathematics into a social context are discussed. It is shown that there is ample common ground between these contextualizations and several recent research programs in general contemporary history. It is argued that a closer cooperation between general historians and historians of mathematics might further the integration of the internalist and externalist approaches within the historiography of (...)mathematics. (shrink)
This paper describes an attempt to develop a program for teaching history and philosophy of mathematics to inservice mathematics teachers. I argue briefly for the view that philosophical positions and epistemological accounts related to mathematics have a significant influence and a powerful impact on the way mathematics is taught. But since philosophy of mathematics without history of mathematics does not exist, both philosophy and history of mathematics are necessary components of (...) programs for the training of preservice as well as inservice mathematics teachers. (shrink)
A more and more important role is played by new directions in historical research that study long-term dynamic processes and quantitative changes. This kind of history can hardly develop without the application of mathematical methods. The history is studied more and more as a system of various processes, within which one can detect waves and cycles of different lengths – from a few years to several centuries, or even millennia. This issue is the third collective monograph in the (...) series of History & Mathematics almanacs and it is subtitled Processes and Models of Global Dynamics. The contributions to the almanac present a qualitative and quantitative analysis of global historical, political, economic and demographic processes, as well as their mathematical models. This issue of the almanac consists of two main sections: (I) Analyses of the World Systems and Global Processes, and (II) Models of Economic and Demographic Processes. We hope that this issue of the almanac will be interesting and useful both for historians and mathematicians, as well as for all those dealing with various social and natural sciences. (shrink)
This article looks at recent work in cognitive science on mathematical cognition from the perspective of history and philosophy of mathematical practice. The discussion is focused on the work of Lakoff and Núñez, because this is the first comprehensive account of mathematical cognition that also addresses advanced mathematics and its history. Building on a distinction between mathematics as it is presented in textbooks and as it presents itself to the researcher, it is argued that the focus (...) of cognitive analyses of historical developments of mathematics has been primarily on the former, even if they claim to be about the latter. (shrink)
The seventeenth century saw dramatic advances in mathematical theory and practice. With the recovery of many of the classical Greek mathematical texts, new techniques were introduced, and within 100 years, the rules of analytic geometry, geometry of indivisibles, arithmatic of infinites, and calculus were developed. Although many technical studies have been devoted to these innovations, Mancosu provides the first comprehensive account of the relationship between mathematical advances of the seventeenth century and the philosophy of mathematics of the period. Starting (...) with the Renaissance debates on the certainty of mathematics, Mancosu leads the reader through the foundational issues raised by the emergence of these new mathematical techniques, including the influence of the Aristotelian conception of science in Cavalieri and Guldin, the foundational relevance of Descartes' Geometrie, the relation between geometrical and epistemological theories of the infinite, and the Leibnizian calculus and the opposition to infinitesimalist procedures. In the process Mancosu draws a sophisticated picture of the subtle dependencies between technical development and philosophical reflection in seventeenth century mathematics. (shrink)
From Brouwer To Hilbert: The Debate on the Foundations of Mathematics in the 1920s offers the first comprehensive introduction to the most exciting period in the foundation of mathematics in the twentieth century. The 1920s witnessed the seminal foundational work of Hilbert and Bernays in proof theory, Brouwer's refinement of intuitionistic mathematics, and Weyl's predicativist approach to the foundations of analysis. This impressive collection makes available the first English translations of twenty-five central articles by these important contributors (...) and many others. The articles have been translated for the first time from Dutch, French, and German, and the volume is divided into four sections devoted to (1) Brouwer, (2) Weyl, (3) Bernays and Hilbert, and (4) the emergence of intuitionistic logic. Each section opens with an introduction which provides the necessary historical and technical context for understanding the articles. Although most contemporary work in this field takes its start from the groundbreaking contributions of these major figures, a good, scholarly introduction to the area was not available until now. Unique and accessible, From Brouwer To Hilbert will serve as an ideal text for undergraduate and graduate courses in the philosophy of mathematics, and will also be an invaluable resource for philosophers, mathematicians, and interested non-specialists. (shrink)
The Pythagorean idea that numbers are the key to understanding reality inspired philosophers in late Antiquity (4th and 5th centuries A.D.) to develop theories in physics and metaphysics based on mathematical models. This book draws on some newly discovered evidence, including fragments of Iamblichus's On Pythagoreanism, to examine these early theories and trace their influence on later Neoplatonists (particularly Proclus and Syrianus) and on medieval and early modern philosophy.
The first part of this paper consists of an exposition of the views expressed by Pierre Duhem in his Aim and Structure of Physical Theory concerning the philosophy and historiography of mathematics. The second part provides a critique of these views, pointing to the conclusion that they are in need of reformulation. In the concluding third part, it is suggested that a number of the most important claims made by Duhem concerning physical theory, e.g., those relating to the Newtonian (...) method, the limited falsifiability of theories, and the restricted role of logic, can be meaningfully applied to mathematics. (shrink)
William Tait is one of the most distinguished philosophers of mathematics of the last fifty years. This volume collects his most important published philosophical papers from the 1980's to the present. The articles cover a wide range of issues in the foundations and philosophy of mathematics, including some on historical figures ranging from Plato to Gödel. Tait's main contributions were initially in proof theory and constructive mathematics, later moving on to more philosophical subjects including finitism and skepticism (...) about mathematics. This collection, presented as a whole, reveals the underlying unity of Tait's work. The volume includes an introduction in which Tait reflects more generally on the evolution of his point of view, as well as an appendix and added endnotes in which he gives some interesting background to the original essays. This is an important collection of the work of one of the most eminent philosophers of mathematics in this generation. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against Penelope Maddy's set-theoretic realism by arguing (1) that it is perfectly consistent with mathematical Platonism to deny that there is a fact of the matter concerning statements which are independent of the axioms of set theory, and that (2) denying this accords further that many contemporary Platonists assert that there is a fact of the matter because they are closet foundationalists, and that their brand of foundationalism is in radical conflict with actual mathematical practice.
Since antiquity well into the beginnings of the 20th century geometry was a central topic for philosophy. Since then, however, most philosophers of science, if they took notice of topology at all, considered it as an abstruse subdiscipline of mathematics lacking philosophical interest. Here it is argued that this neglect of topology by philosophy may be conceived of as the sign of a conceptual sea-change in philosophy of science that expelled geometry, and, more generally, mathematics, from the central (...) position it used to have in philosophy of science and placed logic at center stage in the 20th century philosophy of science. Only in recent decades logic has begun to loose its monopoly and geometry and topology received a new chance to find a place in philosophy of science. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction Rudy Rucker; Part I. Perspectives on Infinity from History: 1. Infinity as a transformative concept in science and theology Wolfgang Achtner; Part II. Perspectives on Infinity from Mathematics: 2. The mathematical infinity Enrico Bombieri; 3. Warning signs of a possible collapse of contemporary mathematics Edward Nelson; Part III. Technical Perspectives on Infinity from Advanced Mathematics: 4. The realm of the infinite W. Hugh Woodin; 5. A potential subtlety concerning the distinction between (...) determinism and nondeterminism W. Hugh Woodin; 6. Concept calculus: much better than Harvey M. Friedman; Part IV. Perspectives on Infinity from Physics and Cosmology: 7. Some considerations on infinity in physics Carlo Rovelli; 8. Cosmological intimations of infinity Anthony Aguirre; 9. Infinity and the nostalgia of the stars Marco Bersanelli; 10. Infinities in cosmology Michael Heller; Part V. Perspectives on Infinity from Philosophy and Theology: 11. God and infinity: directions for future research Graham Oppy; 12. Notes on the concept of the infinite in the history of Western metaphysics David Bentley Hart; 13. God and infinity: theological insights from Cantor's mathematics Robert J. Russell; 14. A partially skeptical response to Hart and Russell Denys A. Turner. (shrink)
The paper introduces Vailati’s life and works, investigating Vailati’s education, the relation to Peano and his school, and the interest for pragmatism and modernism. A detailed analysis of Vailati’s scientific and didactic activities, shows that he held, like Peano, a a strong interest for the history of science and a pluralist, anti-dogmatic and anti-foundationalist conception of definitions in mathematics, logic and philosophy of language. Vailati’s understanding of mathematical logic as a form of pragmatism is not a faithful interpretation (...) of Peano’s conception, but it is essential to understand the relations of Peano’s logic with other philosophical traditions and some epistemological aspects of Peano’s perspective, such as the search for a universal language. (shrink)
Mathematics often seems incomprehensible, a melee of strange symbols thrown down on a page. But while formulae, theorems, and proofs can involve highly complex concepts, the math becomes transparent when viewed as part of a bigger picture. What Is a Number? provides that picture. Robert Tubbs examines how mathematical concepts like number, geometric truth, infinity, and proof have been employed by artists, theologians, philosophers, writers, and cosmologists from ancient times to the modern era. Looking at a broad range of (...) topics -- from Pythagoras's exploration of the connection between harmonious sounds and mathematical ratios to the understanding of time in both Western and pre-Columbian thought -- Tubbs ties together seemingly disparate ideas to demonstrate the relationship between the sometimes elusive thought of artists and philosophers and the concrete logic of mathematicians. He complements his textual arguments with diagrams and illustrations. This historic and thematic study refutes the received wisdom that mathematical concepts are esoteric and divorced from other intellectual pursuits -- revealing them instead as dynamic and intrinsic to almost every human endeavor. (shrink)
There is no doubt that periodization is a rather effective method of data ordering and analysis, but it deals with exceptionally complex types of processual and temporal phenomena and thus it simplifies historical reality. Many scholars emphasize the great importance of periodization for the study of history. In fact, any periodization suffers from one-sidedness and certain deviations from reality. However, the number and significance of such deviations can be radically diminished as the effectiveness of periodization is directly connected with (...) its author's understanding of the rules and peculiarities of this methodological procedure. In this paper we would like to suggest a model of periodization of history based on our theory of historical process. We shall also demonstrate some possibilities of mathematical modeling for the problems concerning the macroperiodization of the world historical process. This analysis identifies a number of cycles within this process and suggests its generally hyperexponential shape, which makes it possible to propose a number of forecasts concerning the forthcoming decades. (shrink)
The article deals with historical dynamics of implicit and intuitive elements of mathematical knowledge. The author describes historical dynamics of implicit and intuitive elements and discloses a historical and evolutionary mechanism of building up mathematical knowledge. Each requirement to increase the level of theoretical rigor in mathematics is historically realized as a three-stage process. The first stage considers some general conditions of valid mathematical knowledge recognized by the mathematical community. The second one reveals the level of theoretical rigor increasing, (...) while the third one is characterized by explication of the hidden lemmas. A detailed discussion of historical substantiation of the basic algebra theorem is conducted according to the proposed technique. (shrink)
Do numbers, sets, and so forth, exist? What do mathematical statements mean? Are they literally true or false, or do they lack truth values altogether? Addressing questions that have attracted lively debate in recent years, Stewart Shapiro contends that standard realist and antirealist accounts of mathematics are both problematic. As Benacerraf first noted, we are confronted with the following powerful dilemma. The desired continuity between mathematical and, say, scientific language suggests realism, but realism in this context suggests seemingly intractable (...) epistemic problems. As a way out of this dilemma, Shapiro articulates a structuralist approach. On this view, the subject matter of arithmetic, for example, is not a fixed domain of numbers independent of each other, but rather is the natural number structure, the pattern common to any system of objects that has an initial object and successor relation satisfying the induction principle. Using this framework, realism in mathematics can be preserved without troublesome epistemic consequences. Shapiro concludes by showing how a structuralist approach can be applied to wider philosophical questions such as the nature of an "object" and the Quinean nature of ontological commitment. Clear, compelling, and tautly argued, Shapiro's work, noteworthy both in its attempt to develop a full-length structuralist approach to mathematics and to trace its emergence in the history of mathematics, will be of deep interest to both philosophers and mathematicians. (shrink)
The article evaluates the Domain Postulate of the Classical Model of Science and the related Aristotelian prohibition rule on kind-crossing as interpretative tools in the history of the development of mathematics into a general science of quantities. Special reference is made to Proclus’ commentary to Euclid’s first book of Elements , to the sixteenth century translations of Euclid’s work into Latin and to the works of Stevin, Wallis, Viète and Descartes. The prohibition rule on kind-crossing formulated by Aristotle (...) in Posterior analytics is used to distinguish between conceptions that share the same name but are substantively different: for example the search for a broader genus including all mathematical objects; the search for a common character of different species of mathematical objects; and the effort to treat magnitudes as numbers. (shrink)
Platonism is the most pervasive philosophy of mathematics. Indeed, it can be argued that an inarticulate, half-conscious Platonism is nearly universal among mathematicians. The basic idea is that mathematical entities exist outside space and time, outside thought and matter, in an abstract realm. In the more eloquent words of Edward Everett, a distinguished nineteenth-century American scholar, "in pure mathematics we contemplate absolute truths which existed in the divine mind before the morning stars sang together, and which will continue (...) to exist there when the last of their radiant host shall have fallen from heaven." In What is Mathematics, Really?, renowned mathematician Rueben Hersh takes these eloquent words and this pervasive philosophy to task, in a subversive attack on traditional philosophies of mathematics, most notably, Platonism and formalism. Virtually all philosophers of mathematics treat it as isolated, timeless, ahistorical, inhuman. Hersh argues the contrary, that mathematics must be understood as a human activity, a social phenomenon, part of human culture, historically evolved, and intelligible only in a social context. Mathematical objects are created by humans, not arbitrarily, but from activity with existing mathematical objects, and from the needs of science and daily life. Hersh pulls the screen back to reveal mathematics as seen by professionals, debunking many mathematical myths, and demonstrating how the "humanist" idea of the nature of mathematics more closely resembles how mathematicians actually work. At the heart of the book is a fascinating historical account of the mainstream of philosophy--ranging from Pythagoras, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, and Kant, to Bertrand Russell, David Hilbert, Rudolph Carnap, and Willard V.O. Quine--followed by the mavericks who saw mathematics as a human artifact, including Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Mill, Peirce, Dewey, and Lakatos. In his epilogue, Hersh reveals that this is no mere armchair debate, of little consequence to the outside world. He contends that Platonism and elitism fit well together, that Platonism in fact is used to justify the claim that "some people just can't learn math." The humanist philosophy, on the other hand, links mathematics with geople, with society, and with history. It fits with liberal anti-elitism and its historical striving for universal literacy, universal higher education, and universal access to knowledge and culture. Thus Hersh's argument has educational and political ramifications. Written by the co-author of The Mathematical Experience, which won the American Book Award in 1983, this volume reflects an insider's view of mathematical life, based on twenty years of doing research on advanced mathematical problems, thirty-five years of teaching graduates and undergraduates, and many long hours of listening, talking to, and reading philosophers. A clearly written and highly iconoclastic book, it is sure to be hotly debated by anyone with a passionate interest in mathematics or the philosophy of science. (shrink)
In A History of Philosophy in the Twentieth Century , Christian Delacampagne reviews the discipline's divergent and dramatic course and shows that its greatest figures, even the most unworldly among them, were deeply affected by events of their time. From Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose famous Tractatus was actually composed in the trenches during World War I, to Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger -- one who found himself barred from public life with Hitler's coming to power, the other a member of (...) the Nazi party who later refused to repudiate German war crimes. From Bertrand Russell, whose lifelong pacifism led him to turn from logic and mathematics to social and moral questions, and Jean-Paul Sartre, who made philosophy an occasion for direct and personal political engagement, to Rudolf Carnap, a committed socialist, and Karl Popper, a resolute opponent of Communism. From the Vienna Circle and the Frankfurt School to the contemporary work of philosophers as variously minded as Jacques Derrida, Jürgen Habermas, and Hilary Putnam. The thinking of these philosophers, and scores of others, cannot be understood without being placed in the context of the times in which they lived. (shrink)
We argue that the set of humanly known mathematical truths (at any given moment in human history) is finite and so recursive. But if so, then given various fundamental results in mathematical logic and the theory of computation (such as Craig’s in J Symb Log 18(1): 30–32(1953) theorem), the set of humanly known mathematical truths is axiomatizable. Furthermore, given Godel’s (Monash Math Phys 38: 173–198, 1931) First Incompleteness Theorem, then (at any given moment in human history) humanly known (...)mathematics must be either inconsistent or incomplete. Moreover, since humanly known mathematics is axiomatizable, it can be the output of a Turing machine. We then argue that any given mathematical claim that we could possibly know could be the output of a Turing machine, at least in principle. So the Lucas-Penrose (Lucas in Philosophy 36:112–127, 1961; Penrose, in The Emperor’s new mind. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1994)) argument cannot be sound. (shrink)
This unique book by Stewart Shapiro looks at a range of philosophical issues and positions concerning mathematics in four comprehensive sections. Part I describes questions and issues about mathematics that have motivated philosophers since the beginning of intellectual history. Part II is an historical survey, discussing the role of mathematics in the thought of such philosophers as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Mill. Part III covers the three major positions held throughout the twentieth century: the idea that (...)mathematics is logic (logicism), the view that the essence of mathematics is the rule-governed manipulation of characters (formalism), and a revisionist philosophy that focuses on the mental activity of mathematics (intuitionism). Finally, Part IV brings the reader up-to-date with a look at contemporary developments within the discipline. This sweeping introductory guide to the philosophy of mathematics makes these fascinating concepts accessible to those with little background in either mathematics or philosophy. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- Introduction -- Setting the Scene -- Plato and Aristotle -- From the Roman Empire to the Empire of Islam -- The Western Middle Ages -- The Renaissance -- New Methods of Science -- Bringing Mathematics and Natural Philosophy Together -- Practice and Theory in Renaissance Medicine: William Harvey and the Circulation of the Blood -- The Spirit of System: Rene; Descartes and the Mechanical Philosophy -- The Royal Society and Experimental Philosophy -- Experiment, (...) class='Hi'>Mathematics, and Magic: Isaac Newton -- Newton's Legacy: Forces and Fluids (electricity and heat) -- The Chemical Revolution: From Newton to John Dalton, via Priestley and Lavoisier -- Natural Theology and Natural Order: Newtonian Optimism and the History of Science -- The Making of Geology: From James Hutton to Charles Lyell via Catastrophism -- The History of Plants and Animals: Successive Emergence or Evolution? -- Religion and Progress in Victorian Britain: Robert Chambers versus Hugh Miller -- Bringing it All Together?: Charles Darwin's Evolution -- Darwinian Aftermaths: Religion; Social Science; Biology -- Beyond Newton: Energy and Thermodynamics -- Newton deposed: Einstein and Relativity Theory -- Mathematics instead of a World Picture: From Atomism to Quantum Theory -- Afterword. (shrink)
One is a science, the other an art; one useful, the other seemingly decorative, but mathematics and music share common origins in cult and mystery and have been linked throughout history. Emblems of Mind is Edward Rothstein’s classic exploration of their profound similarities, a journey into their “inner life.” Along the way, Rothstein explains how mathematics makes sense of space, how music tells a story, how theories are constructed, how melody is shaped. He invokes the poetry of (...) Wordsworth, the anthropology of Le;vi-Strauss, the imagery of Plato, and the philosophy of Kant. Math and music, Rothstein shows, apply comparable methods as they create their abstractions, display similar concerns with ratio and proportion, and depend on metaphors and analogies to create their meanings. Ultimately, Rothstein argues, they reveal the ways in which we come to understand the world. They are images of the mind at work and play; indeed, they are emblems of Mind itself. Jacques Barzun called this book “splendid.” Martin Gardner said it was “beautifully written, marvelous and entertaining.” It will provoke all serious readers to think in new ways about the grand patterns in art and life. “Lovely, wistful. . . . Rothstein is a wonderful guide to the architecture of musical space, its tensions and relations, its resonances and proportions. . . . His account of what is going on in the music is unfailingly felicitous.”— New Yorker “Provocative and exciting. . . . Rothstein writes this book as a foreign correspondent, sending dispatches from a remote and mysterious locale as a guide for the intellectually adventurous. The remarkable fact about his work is not that it is profound, as much of the writing is, but that it is so accessible.”— Christian Science Monitor. (shrink)