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Philosophy of Science

Journal

Journal of Humanistic Mathematics

2013

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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

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 ...