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.

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.

Winner of the 1983 National Book Award, The Mathematical Experience conveyed the power and beauty of its topic to a broad audience. The study version added exercises and other classroom aids. This softcover edition includes new epilogues by the original authors.

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 ...

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 ...

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

This book is a biography of one of the most famous and influential living mathematicians, Peter Lax. He is virtually unique as a preeminent leader in both pure and applied mathematics, fields which are often seen as competing and incompatible. Although he has been an academic for all of his adult life, his biography is not without drama and tragedy. Lax and his family barely escaped to the U.S. from Budapest before the Holocaust descended. He was one of the youngest scientists to work on the Manhattan Project. He played a leading role in coping with the infamous "kidnapping" of the NYU mathematics department's computer, in 1970. The list of topics in which Lax made fundamental and long-lasti...

Las matemáticas tienen para muchos mala fama: frías, complicadas, ajenas a todo aquello que no sea “racional”. Sin embargo, semejante historia no es real: las matemáticas tienen que ver, y mucho, con emociones y fuerzas sociales; esto es, con todo aquello que es primaria y genuinamente humano. Que es así, es algo que se muestra en este libro, en el que un matemático, Reuben Hersh, y una experta en lingüística y educación, Vera John-Steiner, narran, con un estilo vivo y accesible, las vidas de distinguidos matemáticos, vidas en las que no faltaron amistades, amores, rivalidades, frustraciones, pasiones o momentos de éxtasis. A través de las páginas de este esclarecedor libro, ...

For the majority of the twentieth century, philosophers of mathematics focused their attention on foundational questions. However, in the last quarter of the century they began to return to basics, and two new schools of thought were created: social constructivism and structuralism. The advent of the computer also led to proofs and development of mathematics assisted by computer, and to questions concerning the role of the computer in mathematics. This book of sixteen original essays is the first to explore this range of new developments in the philosophy of mathematics, in a language accessible to mathematicians. Approximately half the essays were written by mathematicians, and consider questions that philosophers have not yet discussed. The other half, written by philosophers of mathematics, summarise the discussion in that community during the last 35 years. A connection is made in each case to issues relevant to the teaching of mathematics.