How Mathematicians Think: Using Ambiguity, Contradiction, and Paradox to Create Mathematics

By: Byers, William

Price: $16.50  $13.20

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Book Condition: Fine


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To many outsiders, mathematicians appear to think like computers, grimly grinding away with a strict formal logic and moving methodically--even algorithmically--from one black-and-white deduction to another. Yet mathematicians often describe their most important breakthroughs as creative, intuitive responses to ambiguity, contradiction, and paradox. A unique examination of this less-familiar aspect of mathematics, "How Mathematicians Think" reveals that mathematics is a profoundly creative activity and not just a body of formalized rules and results.

Nonlogical qualities, William Byers shows, play an essential role in mathematics. Ambiguities, contradictions, and paradoxes can arise when ideas developed in different contexts come into contact. Uncertainties and conflicts do not impede but rather spur the development of mathematics. Creativity often means bringing apparently incompatible perspectives together as complementary aspects of a new, more subtle theory. The secret of mathematics is not to be found only in its logical structure.

The creative dimensions of mathematical work have great implications for our notions of mathematical and scientific truth, and "How Mathematicians Think" provides a novel approach to many fundamental questions. Is mathematics objectively true? Is it discovered or invented? And is there such a thing as a "final" scientific theory?

Ultimately, "How Mathematicians Think" shows that the nature of mathematical thinking can teach us a great deal about the human condition itself.

Title: How Mathematicians Think: Using Ambiguity, Contradiction, and Paradox to Create Mathematics

Author: Byers, William

Categories: Mathematics,

Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr: 2007

ISBN Number: 0691127387

ISBN Number 13: 9780691127385

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition: Fine

Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Type: Mathematics

Seller ID: 144771

Description: Book is in excellent condition. Binding is solid and square, covers have sharp corners, exterior shows no blemishes, text/interior is clean and free of marking of any kind. Dust jacket shows the slightest signs of shelf wear only, no tears.