- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (January 14, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780395929681
- ISBN-13: 978-0395929681
- ASIN: 0395929687
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Mathematical Experience Reprint Edition
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Wherever one stands on this this particular philosophy, the book can be read on multiple levels without agreeing with the philosophy. The short vignettes can be read as enjoyable interesting mathematical and historical snippets, each independent of the other. It can be read as an exposition of the human activity which comprises mathematical investigations and discoveries (or are they creations?). Finally, it can be read as probes into the philosophy and foundations of mathematics.
A fair bit of mathematical knowledge (undergrad/grad-level) and some history of mathematics is recommended, and an understanding of philosophy of mathematics and FOM would be helpful if one wants to get the most out of this book. However, anyone with a motivated interest in mathematics should find this book worthwhile.
After I read this book, I have been trying to be a little more Platonist than I used to.
The highlight of the book in my opinion is the chapter "The Ideal Mathematician". This, taken alone, might be the best short piece I've read about the philosophy of mathematics. It describes the life of an imagined "Ideal Mathematician" specializing in "non-Riemannian hypersquares", and his struggles communicating his work to outsiders. The conversations are somewhat contrived for comic effect, but deep down it is close to the truth--most of our Ideal Mathematician's responses are what a typical competent math professor might say in the same situation. It's quite entertaining--as long as us mathematicians feel comfortable making fun of ourselves a bit.