What Is Mathematics?: ...

# What Is Mathematics?: An Elementary Approach to Ideas and Methods: An Elementary Approach to Ideas and Methods

For more than two thousand years a familiarity with mathematics has been regarded as an indispensable part of the intellectual equipment of every cultured person. Today, unfortunately, the traditional place of mathematics in education is in grave danger. The teaching and learning of mathematics has degenerated into the realm of rote memorization, the outcome of which leads...more

Unknown Binding, 1086 pages

Published
May 27th 2014
by Not Avail
(first published January 1st 1967)

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## Community Reviews

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This book is also ideal reading for anybody who wants to improve their general mathematical literacy. Perhaps many people who don't know much abo...more

I'm probably not unique in that I made it through a lot of math without ever really understanding what I was doing, just flipping equations around until an answer poured out. I had a trigonometry professor who at least pushed understanding what you were doing. It was in my first semester of the calculus that math started to make sense. "What Is Mathematics?" was a clear inspiration for some of the l...more

Jun 20, 2010
Nick Black
rated it
5 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Recommended to Nick by:
Alex Ott

Wow, that was absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the heads-up, Alex! I really, really wish I'd have had this book back as a senior or junior in high school; I'd have been able to plan out my math classes early on much better (why on earth did I take Dynamics and Bifurcations?!?! and how did I avoid taking a serious vector spaces/manifold calculus class? would have been nice for upper-level physics! oh well!). I think this will be my default high school graduation present to anyone with an inkling...more

There are references to ongoing problems to solve Hilbert's 10th problem, but no acknowledgement of Alan Turing's contributions (probably because his work was still classified or unknown at the time of publication). Godel's "recent work on incompleteness" is a footnote to the summary of Russell's "great work", which made me snicker.

The notation is pretty bad as well. Many of the font...more

Jun 30, 2012
Erickson
rated it
5 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
advanced-mathematics

Skimmed through and it is quite useful, very similar to one of Felix Klein's books in terms of style. A little too mathematics for my purposes which is more towards physics, some insights are good nonetheless.

Il mondo matematico spiegato ai principianti e agli esperti.

Jan 10, 2011
Erik
marked it as to-read

Excellent, actual use

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“Mathematics as an expression of the human mind reflects the active will, the contemplative reason, and the desire for aesthetic perfection. Its basic elements are logic and intuition, analysis and construction, generality and individuality. Though different traditions may emphasize different aspects, it is only the interplay of these antithetic forces and the struggle for their synthesis that constitute the life, usefulness, and supreme value of mathematical science.”
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“For scholars and laymen alike it is not philosophy but active experience in mathematics itself that can alone answer the question: What is mathematics?”
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