History and Philosophy Of Science | Persepctives on Science: Natural & Mathematical-Was God a Mathematician? The Role of Mathematics in Western Culture from Plato to Descartes
X126 | 26238 | Emil Sargsyan


X126- Was God a Mathematician? The Role of Mathematics in Western
Culture from Plato to Descartes
Emil Sargsyan
Tuesday, Thursday  9:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m.

In this course we will survey the story of mathematics within the
wider scope of the history of science in the western tradition.  Our
task will be to get acquainted with the history of the mathematical
sciences enough to chart its social and philosophical foundations.
We will begin with Greek mathematics, and examine its role in
Pythagoras’, Plato’s and Aristotle’s philosophy.  After noting the
decline in pure mathematics during the early middle period in the
west, we will touch on mathematical developments in the Islamic
world.  The latter part of the class will be devoted to
understanding the translation, assimilation, and development of
Renaissance mathematics.  We will sketch the diversity of engineer
practitioners and contrast them with the university curricula in
mathematics and natural philosophy.  Ultimately, we will note the
shifting institutional status of mathematics, and its eventual role
as a foundation for science in the works of Descartes and Isaac
Newton.  Although we will sketch the history of mathematics proper,
we will also explore the shifting attitudes toward the role of
mathematics for man and society.  Course readings include Richard
Mankiewicz’ The Story of Mathematics as a background guide, with
primary sources made available by the instructor.

Course Textbook

Author:  Richard Mankiewicz
Title:       The Story of Mathematics (Hardcover)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Date:               February 1, 2001
•  ISBN-10: 069108808X
•  ISBN-13: 978-0691088082