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