Essays in Humanistic Mathematics (M a a Notes)

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ISBN-13: 978-0883850893
ISBN-10: 0883850893
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Product Details

  • Series: M a a Notes (Book 32)
  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Mathematical Assn of Amer (October 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0883850893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0883850893
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,028,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Honesty forces me to begin this review by clearly stating that I detest the phrase, "humanistic mathematics." To me, mathematics is one of the purest, cleanest (dare I say honest), methods of thought ever devised, and is not more or less humanistic than any other method. (Un)fortunately, it is also the least forgiving and therefore one of the most difficult to grasp. Once proven, a mathematical result stands forever, and the slightest error mixed in with thousands of correct steps can render the results useless. Many regimes and interest groups, dating back to ancient Greece, have attempted to mold ideas into a politically correct form, and have had some success in many areas. However, all historical attempts to do so with mathematics appear ridiculous. The current movement in humanistic mathematics is very well intended, but there is the possibility that it too will fall into the chasm of politically correct foolishness. Having vented my wrath, it is about time that the book was addressed.
To understand what is being discussed, here is some of the material that appears on the back cover.

. . . a presentation of mathematics as an intellectual discipline with a human perspective and a history that matters.
. . .Humanistic mathematics carries with it an awareness of and a sensitivity to those things mathematics shares with other humanities.

The phrase "intellectual discipline with a human perspective" is internally contradictory. The current definition of the word intellectual implies that it is created by humans. It is therefore an implied position that mathematics will be presented in a manner that is less rigorous and therefore much more forgiving.
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