Plato's Ghost: The Modernist Transformation of Mathematics

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9780691136103: Plato's Ghost: The Modernist Transformation of Mathematics
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Plato's Ghost is the first book to examine the development of mathematics from 1880 to 1920 as a modernist transformation similar to those in art, literature, and music. Jeremy Gray traces the growth of mathematical modernism from its roots in problem solving and theory to its interactions with physics, philosophy, theology, psychology, and ideas about real and artificial languages. He shows how mathematics was popularized, and explains how mathematical modernism not only gave expression to the work of mathematicians and the professional image they sought to create for themselves, but how modernism also introduced deeper and ultimately unanswerable questions.



Plato's Ghost evokes Yeats's lament that any claim to worldly perfection inevitably is proven wrong by the philosopher's ghost; Gray demonstrates how modernist mathematicians believed they had advanced further than anyone before them, only to make more profound mistakes. He tells for the first time the story of these ambitious and brilliant mathematicians, including Richard Dedekind, Henri Lebesgue, Henri Poincaré, and many others. He describes the lively debates surrounding novel objects, definitions, and proofs in mathematics arising from the use of naïve set theory and the revived axiomatic method--debates that spilled over into contemporary arguments in philosophy and the sciences and drove an upsurge of popular writing on mathematics. And he looks at mathematics after World War I, including the foundational crisis and mathematical Platonism.



Plato's Ghost is essential reading for mathematicians and historians, and will appeal to anyone interested in the development of modern mathematics.

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"In this impressive synthesis, Gray brings, in a largely nontechnical way, the technical development of mathematics from the 1880s to the 1930s into the broader historical analysis of the concept of modernity. His argument promises not only to challenge historians of mathematics but also, finally, to bring mathematics into wider discussions of cultural history."--Karen Hunger Parshall, author of James Joseph Sylvester: Jewish Mathematician in a Victorian World

"A major addition to scholarship in the history of mathematics and in the history of science in general. Gray throws light on a major cultural transformation of mathematics. The book is written for a large readership of historians of science, philosophers, and scientists. It will have repercussions in broader debates on scientific culture, and will remain a reference work for many years to come."--Moritz Epple, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University

About the Author:

Jeremy Gray is professor of the history of mathematics and director of the Centre for the History of the Mathematical Sciences at the Open University. His books include Worlds Out of Nothing and János Bolyai, Non-Euclidean Geometry, and the Nature of Space.

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Book Description Princeton University Press, 2008. Condition: New. Traces the growth of mathematical modernism from its roots in problem solving and theory to its interactions with physics, philosophy, theology, psychology, and ideas about real and artificial languages. This book is suitable for mathematicians and historians. Num Pages: 528 pages, 25 halftones. 11 line illus. BIC Classification: PBX. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational; (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 260 x 188 x 35. Weight in Grams: 1262. . 2008. First Edition. Hardcover. . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9780691136103

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2008. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Plato s Ghost is the first book to examine the development of mathematics from 1880 to 1920 as a modernist transformation similar to those in art, literature, and music. Jeremy Gray traces the growth of mathematical modernism from its roots in problem solving and theory to its interactions with physics, philosophy, theology, psychology, and ideas about real and artificial languages. He shows how mathematics was popularized, and explains how mathematical modernism not only gave expression to the work of mathematicians and the professional image they sought to create for themselves, but how modernism also introduced deeper and ultimately unanswerable questions. Plato s Ghost evokes Yeats s lament that any claim to worldly perfection inevitably is proven wrong by the philosopher s ghost; Gray demonstrates how modernist mathematicians believed they had advanced further than anyone before them, only to make more profound mistakes. He tells for the first time the story of these ambitious and brilliant mathematicians, including Richard Dedekind, Henri Lebesgue, Henri Poincare, and many others. He describes the lively debates surrounding novel objects, definitions, and proofs in mathematics arising from the use of naive set theory and the revived axiomatic method--debates that spilled over into contemporary arguments in philosophy and the sciences and drove an upsurge of popular writing on mathematics. And he looks at mathematics after World War I, including the foundational crisis and mathematical Platonism. Plato s Ghost is essential reading for mathematicians and historians, and will appeal to anyone interested in the development of modern mathematics. Seller Inventory # AAU9780691136103

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2008. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Plato s Ghost is the first book to examine the development of mathematics from 1880 to 1920 as a modernist transformation similar to those in art, literature, and music. Jeremy Gray traces the growth of mathematical modernism from its roots in problem solving and theory to its interactions with physics, philosophy, theology, psychology, and ideas about real and artificial languages. He shows how mathematics was popularized, and explains how mathematical modernism not only gave expression to the work of mathematicians and the professional image they sought to create for themselves, but how modernism also introduced deeper and ultimately unanswerable questions. Plato s Ghost evokes Yeats s lament that any claim to worldly perfection inevitably is proven wrong by the philosopher s ghost; Gray demonstrates how modernist mathematicians believed they had advanced further than anyone before them, only to make more profound mistakes. He tells for the first time the story of these ambitious and brilliant mathematicians, including Richard Dedekind, Henri Lebesgue, Henri Poincare, and many others. He describes the lively debates surrounding novel objects, definitions, and proofs in mathematics arising from the use of naive set theory and the revived axiomatic method--debates that spilled over into contemporary arguments in philosophy and the sciences and drove an upsurge of popular writing on mathematics. And he looks at mathematics after World War I, including the foundational crisis and mathematical Platonism. Plato s Ghost is essential reading for mathematicians and historians, and will appeal to anyone interested in the development of modern mathematics. Seller Inventory # AAU9780691136103

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