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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Maths Living In Social Arenas, From Practice To Foundations, Nigel Vinckier Jul 2019

Maths Living In Social Arenas, From Practice To Foundations, Nigel Vinckier

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Maths comes to life in human interaction. This has consequences for the mathematics itself. This paper discusses how this ``coming to life'' of mathematics in different social arenas influences the foundations of maths. We will argue that this influence is profound, to the extent that it is hard to upkeep the idea that there is or should be one foundation on which all mathematics can be built.


Mathematicians Versus Philosophers In Recent Work On Mathematical Beauty, Viktor Blåsjö Jan 2018

Mathematicians Versus Philosophers In Recent Work On Mathematical Beauty, Viktor Blåsjö

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

Recent attempts at defining mathematical beauty fall roughly into two schools of thought. One takes its starting point in the subjective experience of the mathematician and characterises mathematical beauty in cognitive terms. The other seeks to reduce beauty to objective notions such as truth, symmetry, or simplicity. This second approach is popular among analytic philosophers, who are committed to seeing mathematics and science as prototypically rational enterprises. I criticise this stance on the grounds that this commitment makes its supporters approach beauty in mathematics not with a genuine desire to sympathetically understand it, but with the preconceived goal of explaining ...


Explanatory Proofs And Beautiful Proofs, Marc Lange Jan 2016

Explanatory Proofs And Beautiful Proofs, Marc Lange

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

This paper concerns the relation between a proof’s beauty and its explanatory power – that is, its capacity to go beyond proving a given theorem to explaining why that theorem holds. Explanatory power and beauty are among the many virtues that mathematicians value and seek in various proofs, and it is important to come to a better understanding of the relations among these virtues. Mathematical practice has long recognized that certain proofs but not others have explanatory power, and this paper offers an account of what makes a proof explanatory. This account is motivated by a wide range of examples ...


Teaching The Complex Numbers: What History And Philosophy Of Mathematics Suggest, Emily R. Grosholz Jan 2013

Teaching The Complex Numbers: What History And Philosophy Of Mathematics Suggest, Emily R. Grosholz

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

The narrative about the nineteenth century favored by many philosophers of mathematics strongly influenced by either logic or algebra, is that geometric intuition led real and complex analysis astray until Cauchy and Kronecker in one sense and Dedekind in another guided mathematicians out of the labyrinth through the arithmetization of analysis. Yet the use of geometry in most cases in nineteenth century mathematics was not misleading and was often key to important developments. Thus the geometrization of complex numbers was essential to their acceptance and to the development of complex analysis; geometry provided the canonical examples that led to the ...


The Mathematical Cultures Network Project, Brendan P. Larvor Jul 2012

The Mathematical Cultures Network Project, Brendan P. Larvor

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

The UK Arts and Humanities Research Council has agreed to fund a series of three meetings with associated publications on mathematical cultures. This note describes the project.