History and Philosophy Of Science | Was god a Mathematician? The Role of Mathematics in Western Culture from Plato to Descartes
X126 | 16105 | Emil Sargsyan


In this course we will trace the history of mathematics within the
wider scope of the history of science in the western tradition.  Our
aim will be to identify and chart the philosophical and historical
foundations of the indispensable role of mathematics in modern
science.  We will begin with Greek mathematics, and examine its role
in Plato’s and Aristotle’s philosophy.  After noting the decline in
mathematics education and production during the early middle period
in the west, we will touch on mathematical developments in the Arab
world.  The final third of the semester will be devoted to charting
the translation, assimilation, and development of Renaissance
mathematics.  We will sketch the diversity of mathematical
practitioners and contrast them with university professors of
natural philosophy.  Ultimately, we will note the shifting
institutional status of mathematics, and its eventual role as a
foundation for science.  Although we will sketch the history of
mathematics proper, the focus of the class will be to look at the
shifting attitudes toward the role of mathematics in society.