What is Mathematics, Really?

Author: Reuben Hersh

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780195130874

Category: Medical

Page: 343

View: 8479

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Most philosophers of mathematics treat it as isolated, timeless, ahistorical, inhuman. Reuben 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. 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 his book is a fascinating historical account of the mainstream of philosophy--ranging from Pythagoras, Descartes, and Spinoza, to Bertrand Russell, David Hilbert, and Rudolph Carnap--followed by the mavericks who saw mathematics as a human artifact, including Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Mill, and Lakatos. What is Mathematics, Really? reflects an insider's view of mathematical life, and will be hotly debated by anyone with an interest in mathematics or the philosophy of science.

What Is Mathematics, Really?

Author: Reuben Hersh

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199839395

Category: Mathematics

Page: 368

View: 6945

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Most philosophers of mathematics treat it as isolated, timeless, ahistorical, inhuman. Reuben 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. 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 his book is a fascinating historical account of the mainstream of philosophy--ranging from Pythagoras, Descartes, and Spinoza, to Bertrand Russell, David Hilbert, and Rudolph Carnap--followed by the mavericks who saw mathematics as a human artifact, including Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Mill, and Lakatos. What is Mathematics, Really? reflects an insider's view of mathematical life, and will be hotly debated by anyone with an interest in mathematics or the philosophy of science.

What is Mathematics, Really?

Author: Reuben Hersh

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780099748311

Category: Mathematics

Page: 343

View: 1864

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This book tackles important questions which have engaged mathemat-icians and philosophers for thousands of years and are still being asked today. The main purpose of the book is to ask: In what sense do mathematical objects exist? How can we have knowledge of them? Why do mathematicians think mathematical entities exist for ever, independent of human action and knowledge? In clear, elegant prose and with scholarship born of first-hand experience, Reuben Hersh illuminates the mysteries behind the meaning and nature of mathematics.

What is Mathematics?

An Elementary Approach to Ideas and Methods

Author: Richard Courant,Herbert Robbins,Ian Stewart

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780195105193

Category: Mathematics

Page: 566

View: 8286

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A discussion of fundamental mathematical principles from algebra to elementary calculus designed to promote constructive mathematical reasoning.

Experiencing Mathematics

What Do We Do, when We Do Mathematics?

Author: Reuben Hersh

Publisher: American Mathematical Soc.

ISBN: 082189420X

Category: Mathematics

Page: 282

View: 1420

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The question ``What am I doing?'' haunts many creative people, researchers, and teachers. Mathematics, poetry, and philosophy can look from the outside sometimes as ballet en pointe, and at other times as the flight of the bumblebee. Reuben Hersh looks at mathematics from the inside; he collects his papers written over several decades, their edited versions, and new chapters in his book Experiencing Mathematics, which is practical, philosophical, and in some places as intensely personal as Swann's madeleine. --Yuri Manin, Max Planck Institute, Bonn, Germany What happens when mid-career a mathematician unexpectedly becomes philosophical? These lively and eloquent essays address the questions that arise from a crisis of reflectiveness: What is a mathematical proof and why does it come after, not before, mathematical revelation? Can mathematics be both real and a human artifact? Do mathematicians produce eternal truths, or are the judgments of the mathematical community quasi-empirical and historically framed? How can we be sure that an infinite series that seems to converge really does converge? This collection of essays by Reuben Hersh makes an important contribution. His lively and eloquent essays bring the reality of mathematical research to the page. He argues that the search for foundations is misleading, and that philosophers should shift from focusing narrowly on the deductive structure of proof, to tracing the broader forms of quasi-empirical reasoning that star the history of mathematics, as well as examining the nature of mathematical communities and how and why their collective judgments evolve from one generation to the next. If these questions keep you up at night, then you should read this book. And if they don't, then you should read this book anyway, because afterwards, they will! --Emily Grosholz, Department of Philosophy, Penn State, Pennsylvania, USA Most mathematicians, when asked about the nature and meaning of mathematics, vacillate between the two unrealistic poles of Platonism and formalism. By looking carefully at what mathematicians really do when they are doing mathematics, Reuben Hersh offers an escape from this trap. This book of selected articles and essays provides an honest, coherent, and clearly understandable account of mathematicians' proof as it really is, and of the existence and reality of mathematical entities. It follows in the footsteps of Poincare, Hadamard, and Polya. The pragmatism of John Dewey is a better fit for mathematical practice than the dominant ``analytic philosophy''. Dialogue, satire, and fantasy enliven the philosophical and methodological analysis. Reuben Hersh has written extensively on mathematics, often from the point of view of a philosopher of science. His book with Philip Davis, The Mathematical Experience, won the National Book Award in science. Hersh is emeritus professor of mathematics at the University of New Mexico.

Loving and Hating Mathematics

Challenging the Myths of Mathematical Life

Author: Reuben Hersh,Vera John-Steiner

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400836116

Category: Mathematics

Page: 432

View: 9255

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Mathematics is often thought of as the coldest expression of pure reason. But few subjects provoke hotter emotions--and inspire more love and hatred--than mathematics. And although math is frequently idealized as floating above the messiness of human life, its story is nothing if not human; often, it is all too human. Loving and Hating Mathematics is about the hidden human, emotional, and social forces that shape mathematics and affect the experiences of students and mathematicians. Written in a lively, accessible style, and filled with gripping stories and anecdotes, Loving and Hating Mathematics brings home the intense pleasures and pains of mathematical life. These stories challenge many myths, including the notions that mathematics is a solitary pursuit and a "young man's game," the belief that mathematicians are emotionally different from other people, and even the idea that to be a great mathematician it helps to be a little bit crazy. Reuben Hersh and Vera John-Steiner tell stories of lives in math from their very beginnings through old age, including accounts of teaching and mentoring, friendships and rivalries, love affairs and marriages, and the experiences of women and minorities in a field that has traditionally been unfriendly to both. Included here are also stories of people for whom mathematics has been an immense solace during times of crisis, war, and even imprisonment--as well as of those rare individuals driven to insanity and even murder by an obsession with math. This is a book for anyone who wants to understand why the most rational of human endeavors is at the same time one of the most emotional.

The Mathematical Experience, Study Edition

Author: Philip Davis,Reuben Hersh,Elena Anne Marchisotto

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 0817682953

Category: Mathematics

Page: 500

View: 6878

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Winner of the 1983 National Book Award! "...a perfectly marvelous book about the Queen of Sciences, from which one will get a real feeling for what mathematicians do and who they are. The exposition is clear and full of wit and humor..." - The New Yorker (1983 National Book Award edition) Mathematics has been a human activity for thousands of years. Yet only a few people from the vast population of users are professional mathematicians, who create, teach, foster, and apply it in a variety of situations. The authors of this book believe that it should be possible for these professional mathematicians to explain to non-professionals what they do, what they say they are doing, and why the world should support them at it. They also believe that mathematics should be taught to non-mathematics majors in such a way as to instill an appreciation of the power and beauty of mathematics. Many people from around the world have told the authors that they have done precisely that with the first edition and they have encouraged publication of this revised edition complete with exercises for helping students to demonstrate their understanding. This edition of the book should find a new generation of general readers and students who would like to know what mathematics is all about. It will prove invaluable as a course text for a general mathematics appreciation course, one in which the student can combine an appreciation for the esthetics with some satisfying and revealing applications. The text is ideal for 1) a GE course for Liberal Arts students 2) a Capstone course for perspective teachers 3) a writing course for mathematics teachers. A wealth of customizable online course materials for the book can be obtained from Elena Anne Marchisotto ([email protected]) upon request.

Is God a Mathematician?

Author: Mario Livio

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9781416594437

Category: Mathematics

Page: 320

View: 4636

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Bestselling author and astrophysicist Mario Livio examines the lives and theories of history’s greatest mathematicians to ask how—if mathematics is an abstract construction of the human mind—it can so perfectly explain the physical world. Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner once wondered about “the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” in the formulation of the laws of nature. Is God a Mathematician? investigates why mathematics is as powerful as it is. From ancient times to the present, scientists and philosophers have marveled at how such a seemingly abstract discipline could so perfectly explain the natural world. More than that—mathematics has often made predictions, for example, about subatomic particles or cosmic phenomena that were unknown at the time, but later were proven to be true. Is mathematics ultimately invented or discovered? If, as Einstein insisted, mathematics is “a product of human thought that is independent of experience,” how can it so accurately describe and even predict the world around us? Physicist and author Mario Livio brilliantly explores mathematical ideas from Pythagoras to the present day as he shows us how intriguing questions and ingenious answers have led to ever deeper insights into our world. This fascinating book will interest anyone curious about the human mind, the scientific world, and the relationship between them.

How Mathematicians Think

Using Ambiguity, Contradiction, and Paradox to Create Mathematics

Author: William Byers

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691145990

Category: Mathematics

Page: 424

View: 2940

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To many outsiders, mathematicians appear to think like computers, grimly grinding away with a strict formal logic and moving methodically--even algorithmically--from one black-and-white deduction to another. Yet mathematicians often describe their most important breakthroughs as creative, intuitive responses to ambiguity, contradiction, and paradox. A unique examination of this less-familiar aspect of mathematics, How Mathematicians Think reveals that mathematics is a profoundly creative activity and not just a body of formalized rules and results. Nonlogical qualities, William Byers shows, play an essential role in mathematics. Ambiguities, contradictions, and paradoxes can arise when ideas developed in different contexts come into contact. Uncertainties and conflicts do not impede but rather spur the development of mathematics. Creativity often means bringing apparently incompatible perspectives together as complementary aspects of a new, more subtle theory. The secret of mathematics is not to be found only in its logical structure. The creative dimensions of mathematical work have great implications for our notions of mathematical and scientific truth, and How Mathematicians Think provides a novel approach to many fundamental questions. Is mathematics objectively true? Is it discovered or invented? And is there such a thing as a "final" scientific theory? Ultimately, How Mathematicians Think shows that the nature of mathematical thinking can teach us a great deal about the human condition itself.

Indiscrete Thoughts

Author: Gian-Carlo Rota

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9780817647810

Category: Mathematics

Page: 280

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Indiscrete Thoughts gives a glimpse into a world that has seldom been described - that of science and technology as seen through the eyes of a mathematician. The era covered by this book, 1950 to 1990, was surely one of the golden ages of science and of the American university. Cherished myths are debunked along the way as Gian-Carlo Rota takes pleasure in portraying, warts and all, some of the great scientific personalities of the period. Rota is not afraid of controversy. Some readers may even consider these essays indiscreet. This beautifully written book is destined to become an instant classic and the subject of debate for decades to come.

Euclid in the Rainforest

Discovering Universal Truth in Logic and Math

Author: Joseph Mazur

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101664878

Category: Mathematics

Page: 352

View: 1135

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Like Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach, and David Berlinski’s A Tour of the Calculus, Euclid in the Rainforest combines the literary with the mathematical to explore logic—the one indispensable tool in man’s quest to understand the world. Underpinning both math and science, it is the foundation of every major advancement in knowledge since the time of the ancient Greeks. Through adventure stories and historical narratives populated with a rich and quirky cast of characters, Mazur artfully reveals the less-than-airtight nature of logic and the muddled relationship between math and the real world. Ultimately, Mazur argues, logical reasoning is not purely robotic. At its most basic level, it is a creative process guided by our intuitions and beliefs about the world.

Concepts of Modern Mathematics

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Courier Corporation

ISBN: 0486134954

Category: Mathematics

Page: 368

View: 3599

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In this charming volume, a noted English mathematician uses humor and anecdote to illuminate the concepts of groups, sets, subsets, topology, Boolean algebra, and other mathematical subjects. 200 illustrations.

How Not to be Wrong

The Power of Mathematical Thinking

Author: Jordan Ellenberg

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0143127535

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 480

View: 5254

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"Using the mathematician's method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman, minus the jargon ... Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need"--

Mathematics Everywhere

Author: Martin Aigner,Ehrhard Behrends

Publisher: American Mathematical Soc.

ISBN: 0821843494

Category: Mathematics

Page: 330

View: 7884

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Mathematics is all around us. Often we do not realize it, though. Mathematics Everywhere is a collection of presentations on the role of mathematics in everyday life, through science, technology, and culture. The common theme is the unique position of mathematics as the art of pure thought and at the same time as a universally applicable science. The authors are renowned mathematicians; their presentations cover a wide range of topics. From compact discs to the stock exchange, from computer tomography to traffic routing, from electronic money to climate change, they make the ``math inside'' understandable and enjoyable. An additional attractive feature is the leisurely treatment of some hot topics that have gained prominence in recent years, such as Fermat's Theorem, Kepler's packing problem, and the solution of the Poincare Conjecture. Or maybe you have heard about the Nash equilibrium (of ``A Beautiful Mind'' fame), or the strange future of quantum computers, and want to know what it is all about? Well, open the book and take an up-to-date trip into the fascinating world of the mathematics all around us.

Descartes' Dream

The World According to Mathematics

Author: Philip J. Davis,Reuben Hersh

Publisher: Courier Corporation

ISBN: 0486442527

Category: Mathematics

Page: 321

View: 2239

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These provocative essays take a modern look at the 17th-century thinker's dream, examining the influences of mathematics on society, particularly in light of technological advances. They survey the conditions that elicit the application of mathematic principles; the applications' effectiveness; and how applied mathematics transform perceptions of reality. 1987 edition.

Journey through genius

the great theorems of mathematics

Author: William Dunham

Publisher: Egully.com

ISBN: N.A

Category: Mathematics

Page: 300

View: 318

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A rare combination of the historical, biographical, and mathematicalgenius, this book is a fascinating introduction to a neglected field of human creativity. Dunham places mathematical theorem, along with masterpieces of art, music, and literature and gives them the attention they deserve.

Our Mathematical Universe

My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality

Author: Max Tegmark

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 038535049X

Category: Science

Page: 432

View: 2744

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Max Tegmark leads us on an astonishing journey through past, present and future, and through the physics, astronomy and mathematics that are the foundation of his work, most particularly his hypothesis that our physical reality is a mathematical structure and his theory of the ultimate multiverse. In a dazzling combination of both popular and groundbreaking science, he not only helps us grasp his often mind-boggling theories, but he also shares with us some of the often surprising triumphs and disappointments that have shaped his life as a scientist. Fascinating from first to last—this is a book that has already prompted the attention and admiration of some of the most prominent scientists and mathematicians.

18 Unconventional Essays on the Nature of Mathematics

Author: Reuben Hersh

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 0387298312

Category: Mathematics

Page: 326

View: 9869

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Collection of the most interesting recent writings on the philosophy of mathematics written by highly respected researchers from philosophy, mathematics, physics, and chemistry Interdisciplinary book that will be useful in several fields—with a cross-disciplinary subject area, and contributions from researchers of various disciplines

Lost in Math

How Beauty Leads Physics Astray

Author: Sabine Hossenfelder

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465094260

Category: Science

Page: 304

View: 345

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A contrarian argues that modern physicists' obsession with beauty has given us wonderful math but bad science Whether pondering black holes or predicting discoveries at CERN, physicists believe the best theories are beautiful, natural, and elegant, and this standard separates popular theories from disposable ones. This is why, Sabine Hossenfelder argues, we have not seen a major breakthrough in the foundations of physics for more than four decades. The belief in beauty has become so dogmatic that it now conflicts with scientific objectivity: observation has been unable to confirm mindboggling theories, like supersymmetry or grand unification, invented by physicists based on aesthetic criteria. Worse, these "too good to not be true" theories are actually untestable and they have left the field in a cul-de-sac. To escape, physicists must rethink their methods. Only by embracing reality as it is can science discover the truth.

The Mathematics of Life

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465024408

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 4578

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Biologists have long dismissed mathematics as being unable to meaningfully contribute to our understanding of living beings. Within the past ten years, however, mathematicians have proven that they hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of our world--and ourselves. In The Mathematics of Life, Ian Stewart provides a fascinating overview of the vital but little-recognized role mathematics has played in pulling back the curtain on the hidden complexities of the natural world--and how its contribution will be even more vital in the years ahead. In his characteristically clear and entertaining fashion, Stewart explains how mathematicians and biologists have come to work together on some of the most difficult scientific problems that the human race has ever tackled, including the nature and origin of life itself.