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Loving and Hating Mathematics by Reuben Hersh, Vera John-Steiner

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Introduction

This book, unlike most books on mathematics, is about mathematicians, their extraordinary passion for mathematics and their full complexity of being. We emphasize the social and emotional sides of mathematical life.

In the great and famous works of Euclid and Newton, we find axioms and theorems. The mathematics seems to speak for itself. No first person speaks, no second person is addressed: “Here is Truth, here is Proof, no more need be said.” Going back to the reports of Plato and Descartes, mathematical thinking has been seen as pure reason–a perfect and eternal faculty. The thoughts, feelings, and tribulations of the mathematician are not included.

But it doesn’t take deep reflection to realize that this perfection is a human ...

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