The Growth of Mathematical Knowledge

The Growth of Mathematical Knowledge

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Mathematics has stood as a bridge between the Humanities and the Sciences since the days of classical antiquity. For Plato, mathematics was evidence of Being in the midst of Becoming, garden variety evidence apparent even to small children and the unphilosophical, and therefore of the highest educational significance. In the great central similes of The Republic it is the touchstone ofintelligibility for discourse, and in the Timaeus it provides in an oddly literal sense the framework of nature, insuring the intelligibility ofthe material world. For Descartes, mathematical ideas had a clarity and distinctness akin to the idea of God, as the fifth of the Meditations makes especially clear. Cartesian mathematicals are constructions as well as objects envisioned by the soul; in the Principles, the work ofthe physicist who provides a quantified account ofthe machines of nature hovers between description and constitution. For Kant, mathematics reveals the possibility of universal and necessary knowledge that is neither the logical unpacking ofconcepts nor the record of perceptual experience. In the Critique ofPure Reason, mathematics is one of the transcendental instruments the human mind uses to apprehend nature, and by apprehending to construct it under the universal and necessary lawsofNewtonian mechanics.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 416 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 26.92mm | 1,850g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 2000 ed.
  • XLII, 416 p.
  • 0792361512
  • 9780792361510

Table of contents

Acknowledgments. Introduction. Notes on Contributors. Part I: The Question of Empiricism. The Role of Scientific Theory and Empirical Fact in the Growth of Mathematical Knowledge. 1. Knowledge of Functions in the Growth of Mathematical Knowledge; J. Hintikka. Huygens and the Pendulum: From Device to Mathematical Relation; M.S. Mahoney. 2. An Empiricist Philosophy of Mathematics and Its Implications for the History of Mathematics; D. Gillies. The Mathematization of Chance in the Middle of the 17th Century; I. Schneider. Mathematical Empiricism and the Mathematization of Chance: Comment on Gillies and Schneider; M. Liston. 3. The Partial Unification of Domains, Hybrids, and the Growth of Mathematical Knowledge; E. Grosholz. Hamilton-Jacobi Methods and Weierstrassian Field Theory in the Calculus of Variations; C. Fraser. 4. On Mathematical Explanation; P. Mancosu. Mathematics and the Reelaboration of Truths; F. de Gandt. 5. Penrose and Platonism; M. Steiner. On the Mathematics of Spilt Milk; M. Wilson. Part II: The Question of Formalism. The Role of Abstraction, Analysis, and Axiomatization in the Growth of Mathematical Knowledge. 1. The Growth of Mathematical Knowledge: An Open World View; C. Cellucci. Controversies about Numbers and Functions; D. Laugwitz. Epistemology, Ontology, and the Continuum; C. Posy. 2. Tacit Knowledge and Mathematical Progress; H. Breger. The Quadrature of Parabolic Segments 1635-1658: A Response to Herbert Breger; M.M. Muntersbjorn. Mathematical Progress: Ariadne's Thread; M. Liston. Voir-Dire in the Case of Mathematical Progress; C. Mclarty. 3. The Nature of Progress in Mathematics: The Significance of Analogy; H. Sinaceur. Analogy and the Growth of Mathematical Knowledge; E. Knobloch. 4. Evolution of the Modes of Systematization of Mathematical Knowledge; A. Barabashev. Geometry, the First Universal Language of Mathematics; I. Bashmakova, G.S. Smirnova. Part II: The Question of Progress. Criteria for and Characterizations of Progress in Mathematical Knowledge. 1. Mathematical Progress; P. Maddy. Some Remarks on Mathematical Progress from a Structuralist's Perspective; M.D. Resnik. 2. Scientific Progress and Changes in Hierarchies of Scientific Disciplines; V. Peckhaus. On the Progress of Mathematics; S. Demidov. Attractors of Mathematical Progress: The Complex Dynamics of Mathematical Research; K. Mainzer. On Some Determinants of Mathematical Progress; C. Thiel.
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Review quote

`The print and paper are of highly quality. Overall it is a rich and thought-provoking contribution to a relatively undeveloped area of research. The philosophy of the growth of mathematical knowledge has few canonical texts as yet. This book may become one.'
Philosophia Mathematica, 10:1 (2002)
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