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Meaning in Mathematics Hardcover – July 14, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0199605057 ISBN-10: 019960505X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019960505X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199605057
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,544,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Lipton's posthumously published essay... presents a thoughtful comparison of mathematical explanation and understanding with models of scientific explanation."
-- Michael Liston, Department of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI

About the Author

Reverend Dr John Polkinghorne gained his PhD in physics at Cambridge University in 1955. After a brief period as Lecturer in Mathematical Physics at Edinburgh University, he returned to Cambridge until, in 1979, he resigned his Professorship to train for the Anglican Priesthood. He served as Dean and Chaplin of Trinity Hall and then President of Queen's College, Cambridge until his retirement in 1996. In 1997 Polkinghorne was awarded a KBE and in 2002 he won the Templeton Prize for Science and Religion. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society and his professional service has included membership of the Nuclear Physics Board and the BMA Medical Ethics Committee. He is a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion and has been made an Honorary Doctor of Divinity by the University of Kent and Durham University, and an Honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Exeter, the University of Leicester and the Marquette University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had initially thought this book would be about what the patterns in mathematics can tell us about the word around us. Instead this book is not about the "meaning in mathematics" it is the "meaning of mathematics". It is a collection of short essays from mathematicans and philosophers on the metaphysics behind math. Much of it seemed to me to be misguided. Like the entire first essay, trying to find some existential truth in observations on whether we apply the words "invention" or "discovery" to mathematics. Or metaphysical debate that I would liken to arguing with oneself whether the color red exists or not.

I am sure the contributors know their fields, and I could not rule out that another audience might find it a lot more interesting. Which is why I do not dump the score completely. However it does not "offer deep new insights" like the blurb promises.

What the introduction found on Amazon also doesn't mention is that this is the outcome of a symposium supported by the Templeton Foundation. A fact I think is significant considering the criticisms of them having a vested interest in these kinds of existential questions. I would probably not have bought the book had I known how it came to be.
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