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Download Equations from God: Pure Mathematics and Victorian Faith by Daniel J. Cohen PDF

By Daniel J. Cohen

All through heritage, program instead of abstraction has been the in demand motive force in arithmetic. From the compass and sextant to partial differential equations, mathematical advances have been spurred by way of the will for higher navigation instruments, weaponry, and building equipment. however the non secular upheaval in Victorian England and the fledgling usa opened the way in which for the rediscovery of natural arithmetic, a practice rooted in historic Greece.In Equations from God, Daniel J. Cohen captures the origins of the rebirth of summary arithmetic within the highbrow quest to upward thrust above universal lifestyles and contact the brain of the deity. utilizing an array of released and personal resources, Cohen exhibits how philosophers and mathematicians seized upon the gorgeous simplicity inherent in mathematical legislation to reconnect with the divine and strains the direction wherein the divinely encouraged arithmetic of the Victorian period begot later secular philosophies. (2007)

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Extra resources for Equations from God: Pure Mathematics and Victorian Faith (Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Mathematics)

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He based his method primarily upon symbolism, and saw his notation as coming from a supernatural source, infused with the absolute power of God’s domain. Llull’s “Alphabet,” which employed letters for specific divine attributes, embodied this idea. ” At times he added or subtracted other symbols and letters. Llull’s technique, simultaneously redolent of mathematics, astrology, and roulette, placed these symbols on rotating wheels that brought them into complex geometrical relationships with each other.

25 Plato’s grander statements about the nature of mathematics perhaps would have drifted into obscurity had they not been highlighted centuries after his death by the Hellenic philosopher Proclus (ca. 410 –485). Proclus wrote shrewd commentaries on Plato’s mathematical works, as well as on Euclid’s Elements. 26 Proclus’s universe, based on Plato’s idealist thought, was a bifurcated one. Human beings exist in a cave of impaired perception, a profane realm of limited, imperfect things: matter, decay, ever-changing shapes.

This ecumenical streak ran through the technical marks and tables of An Essay Towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language. 63 Words can lie, distract, mislead, confuse, and advance false religion; clean notation, exemplified in the symbols of mathematics, cannot. Although they worked in a putatively technical and forward-looking discipline, by looking back to figures such as John Wilkins, early Victorian mathematical logicians saw themselves as providing a means for the resolution of seemingly intractable cultural and religious problems.

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