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2021 Mathematics outlet online sale in Western high quality Culture outlet sale
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Description

Product Description

Reveals the important contributions of mathematics to the physical and social sciences, philosophy, religion, literature, and art.

Review

"[Kline] is unfalteringly clear in explaining mathematical ideas; he is learned but not pedantic; he has historical discernment, a sympathetic social outlook and a nice sense of fun and irony.... The beauty and fascination and rare excellence of mathematics emerge from his story. It is an exciting, provocative book."―Scientific American

"Still the best textbook for the history and philosophy of mathematics for undergraduate liberal arts students. Especially good for the age of the Scientific Revulution."―Janet A. Fitzgerald, Molloy College, NY

About the Author

Morris Kline is Professor Emeritus at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University.

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4.5 out of 54.5 out of 5
22 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Gbnet
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Simply, don''t miss it
Reviewed in the United States on May 9, 2012
I graduated in physics several years ago. It happens in life that you first do things and later you understand what you have done. With this book it happened to me to understand most of what I have studied after I have read it. It was a turning point in my life and in my... See more
I graduated in physics several years ago. It happens in life that you first do things and later you understand what you have done. With this book it happened to me to understand most of what I have studied after I have read it. It was a turning point in my life and in my career too. This doesn''t mean it will be the same for everybody but surely that was my experience. Since I have read it, I have never forgot the following paragraph.

When earth was put apart

Granted that it was the superior mathematics of the new theory which inspired Copernicus and Kepler, and later Galileo, to repudiate religious convictions, scientific arguments, common sense, and well-entrenched habits of thought, how did the theory help to shape modern times?

First, Copernican theory has done more to determine the content of modern science than is generally recognized. The most powerful and most useful single law of science is Newton''s law of gravitation. Without anticipating here the discussion reserved for a more appropriate place in this book we can say that the best experimental evidence for this law, the evidence which established it, depends entirely on the heliocentric theory.

Second, this theory is responsible for a new trend in science and human thought, barely perceptible, at the time but all-important today. Since our eyes do not see, nor our bodies feel, the rotation and revolution of the Earth, the new theory rejected the evidence of the senses- Things were not what they seemed to be. Sense data could be misleading and reason was the reliable guide. Copernicus and Kepler thereby set the precedent that guides modern science, namely, that reason and mathematics are more important in understanding and interpreting the universe than the evidence of the senses. Vast portions of electrical and atomic theory and the whole theory of relativity would never have been conceived if scientists had not come to accept the reliance upon reason first exemplified by Copernican theory. In this very significant sense Copernicus and Kepler began the Age of Reason, in addition to fulfilling the cardinal function of scientists and mathematicians, that is, to provide a rational comprehension of the universe.

By deflating the stock of Homo sapiens, Copernican theory reopened questions that the guardians of Western civilization had been answering dogmatically upon the basis of Christian theology. Once there had been only one answer; now there are ten or twenty to such basic questions as: Why does man desire to live and for what purpose? Why should he be moral and principled? Why seek to preserve the race? It is one thing for man to answer such questions in the belief that he is the child and ward of a generous, powerful and provident God. It is another to answer them knowing that he is a speck of dust in a cyclone.

Mathematics in Western culture, Morris Kline, 1953
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Judith Bronson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Well presented material
Reviewed in the United States on November 25, 2011
This book gives you an excellent introduction to the role of mathematics in real life without making heavy demands on your comprehension of mathematics. The writing is graceful and often amusing. I expect to hear screaming because the author stresses how much Western... See more
This book gives you an excellent introduction to the role of mathematics in real life without making heavy demands on your comprehension of mathematics. The writing is graceful and often amusing. I expect to hear screaming because the author stresses how much Western civilization advanced because mathematics was important: two ideas many find offensive.
7 people found this helpful
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Janice A
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great Book
Reviewed in the United States on September 22, 2021
A must read for every scholar!
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george mchugh
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Highly recommended for a novice like myself
Reviewed in the United States on August 5, 2014
Highly recommended for a novice like myself. Gives the reader much needed perspective in the history of ideas in an unthreatening and engaging way. Great read.
2 people found this helpful
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Thomas Levenson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United States on May 23, 2015
Just a great introduction to mathematics as a science.
3 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Good Math - Philosophy Read
Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2012
This is a book about the philosophy of mathematics. The author considers the effect of development of mathematics on many aspects of our culture including music, art, and various sciences. I purchased the book because it was selected by Prof. Judith V. Grabiner as... See more
This is a book about the philosophy of mathematics. The author considers the effect of development of mathematics on many aspects of our culture including music, art, and various sciences.
I purchased the book because it was selected by Prof. Judith V. Grabiner as "essential reading" for Lecture One in her course, "Mathematics, Philosophy, and the `Real World''", produced by The Great Courses (formerly The Teaching Company). She says of this book in the course bibliography: "A magisterial work, addressing many of the topics in this Teaching Company course in its 472 pages. Though it does not reflect scholarship since the 1960s [copyright 1953] and reserves a good deal of its sympathies for those who share the modern Western worldview, it orients the reader well and contains many insights."
The reader does not have to know mathematics beyond high school to understand this book. It is more about the role mathematics has played in the development of the rest of western culture than it is about how mathematics works.
Kline, in several places in the book, forced his basic premise by concluding that modern thought in many disciplines would not be important without the influence of mathematics. For example, in Chapter XVIII, in a discussion of Literature, he argues: "...Just as the successful businessman in the twentieth-century America has become the authority in our time, so mathematicians, successful in revealing and phrasing the order in nature, became the arbiters of the language, style, spirit, and content of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature. The biggest literary figures of the age decided that their writings were inferior in all respects to the mathematical and scientific works and that prose and poetry could be improved by following these examples..."
If the reader can get past these over-zealous conclusions, there are many thought-provoking sections which make this a good read. Kline closes the book with the statement: "...Mathematics is variously described as a body of knowledge, as a practical tool, as a cornerstone of philosophy, as the perfection of logical method, as the key to nature, as the reality in nature, as an intellectual game, as an adventure in reason, and as an aesthetic experience." He made a good argument for all of those conclusions. I was glad I read the entire book.
I purchased the Kindle version for the ease of reading in bed [472 pages!], and the convenience of having the Kindle dictionary handy. I am satisfied with my purchase, and believe it met Professor Grabiner''s and my expectations as a foundation test for her excellent course.
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John P. Jones III
5.0 out of 5 stars
More than a sack of bones...
Reviewed in the United States on July 5, 2013
Professor Morris Kline wrote this book in 1953. He started out strong, from the first page of his preface, and kept going from there: "...educated people almost universally reject mathematics as an intellectual interest. This attitude toward the subject is, in a sense,... See more
Professor Morris Kline wrote this book in 1953. He started out strong, from the first page of his preface, and kept going from there: "...educated people almost universally reject mathematics as an intellectual interest. This attitude toward the subject is, in a sense, justified. School course and books have presented `mathematics'' as a series of apparently meaningless technical procedures. Such material is as representative of the subject as an account of the name, position, and function of every bone in the human skeleton is representative of the living, thinking, and emotional being called man." (As for the quaint last word, please recall the year it was written.) Kline supports his assertion with a like one, which serves as the book''s epigraph, from René Descartes, a portion of which reads: "...the earliest pioneers of Philosophy in bygone ages refused to admit to the study of wisdom anyone who was not versed in Mathematics..."

Kline''s work is a tour-de-force of Western scientific achievement, and its impact on the culture and lives of its citizens. Most fundamentally, science requires a solid mathematical basis. He is never heavy-handed in his assertions, but he demonstrates the numerous times that the religious establishment is opposed to the scientific method. The High Priests of Ancient Egypt knew that the solar year was 365 and a quarter days long, but hide this knowledge in order to retain their power over the people by predicting the annual flooding of the Nile. He quotes St. Augustine: "The good Christian should beware of mathematicians and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell." And Kline also details the efforts of the Catholic Church against Galileo in order to retain an earth-centered universe, just like the Bible proclaimed.

It really all did start in Greece, with Pythagoras, Euclid, and several others whose mathematical concepts still shape the world in which we live. As the author points out, it was Alexander who was so instrumental in spreading these concepts throughout a large swath of the inhabited world. He moved the center of the world''s learning to a town named after himself in Egypt. Upon the burning of the library there, in the 600''s, there was an "interlude," as the author puts it, and others have referred to as a "dark age." The light would shine again, numerous centuries later, as Kline says: "The Polish Copernicus, the German Kepler, the Italian Galileo, the French Descartes and the English Newton received light and warmth from the sun of Greece."

As the title suggests, Kline includes several chapters that demonstrate the impact of mathematics in the cultural arenas. There is one devoted to the development of perspective in painting, and the author dedicates three chapters dedicated to Newton''s impact on religion, literature and aesthetics, and philosophy. There is also a chapter dedicated to the influence of mathematics on music.

In terms of scientific developments, Kline provides a lucid explanation of the development of calculus, "grasping the fleeting instant" as he say. He highly praises the work of James Clerk Maxwell in developing electromagnetic theory. Maxwell''s broad theory specifically predicted radio waves, and Kline emphasizes that it was Maxwell''s insistence on EXACT reasoning that was the cause. Rather drolly, he entitles the development of statistics as the "mathematical theory of ignorance." He concludes with three strong chapters on the paradoxes of the infinite, non- Euclidian geometry and the theory of relativity.

Kline does use equations and drawing throughout the book, which should enhance and not detract from the reading experience. None from Maxwell though, which can be a bit difficult. Concerning the role of mathematics, the author concludes with the following: "It is the distillation of highest purity that exact thought has extracted from man''s efforts to understand nature, to impart order to the confusion of events occurring in the physical world, to create beauty, and to satisfy the natural proclivity of the healthy brain to exercise itself." An excellent one volume study of the impact of mathematics on western culture. 5-stars, plus.
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V. T. Franks
5.0 out of 5 stars
enlightening
Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2014
This book puts Western culture in context. All the threads that didn''t come together when you read philosophy, history, science, and religion now form a tapestry of intelligibility. It is very readable, engaging, and insightful. You don''t need any particular knowledge to... See more
This book puts Western culture in context. All the threads that didn''t come together when you read philosophy, history, science, and religion now form a tapestry of intelligibility. It is very readable, engaging, and insightful. You don''t need any particular knowledge to read this book; there are no formulas. Just a story of human striving and intellectual pursuit that will speak to everyone.
2 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

M. F. Cayley
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A good overview, comprehensible to the non-mathematician
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 11, 2010
This is a well-written overview of the role of maths in western culture. It is comprehensible to the layman - no deep mathematical knowledge is required. My only criticism is that I would have preferred greater recognition of the extent to which western maths has drawn on...See more
This is a well-written overview of the role of maths in western culture. It is comprehensible to the layman - no deep mathematical knowledge is required. My only criticism is that I would have preferred greater recognition of the extent to which western maths has drawn on developments made by other cultures, particularly in India and the Middle East.
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Star
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 13, 2015
A lot of information
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MathEnthusiast
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Satisfied costumer
Reviewed in Canada on September 11, 2016
Excellent service and a very nice and clean copy of the book.
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