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Tobias Dantzig -
Mathematics
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But how can we avoid the use of human language? The... symbol. Only by using a symbolic language not yet usurped by those vague ideas of space, time, continuity which have their origin in intuition and tend to obscure pure reason—only thus may we hope to build mathematics on the solid foundation of logic.
Tobias Dantzig
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The progress of mathematics has been most erratic, and... intuition has played a predominant rôle in it.... It was the function of intuition to create new forms; it was the acknowledged right of logic to accept or reject these new forms, in whose birth in had no part.... the children had to live, so while waiting for logic to sanctify their existence, they throve and multiplied.
Tobias Dantzig
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Mathematics is the supreme judge; from its decisions there is no appeal.
Tobias Dantzig
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The arithmetization of mathematics... which began with Weierstrass... had for its object the separation of purely mathematical concepts, such as number and correspondence and aggregate, from intuitional ideas, which mathematics had acquired from long association with geometry and mechanics.
These latter, in the opinion of the formalists, are so firmly entrenched in mathematical thought that in spite of the most careful circumspection in the choice of words, the meaning concealed behind these words, may influence our reasoning. For the trouble with human words is that they possess content, whereas the purpose of mathematics is to construct pure thought.
Tobias Dantzig
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Mathematics fluourished as long as freedom of thought prevailed; it decayed when creative joy gave way to blind faith and fanatical frenzy.
Tobias Dantzig
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In the history of mathematics, the "how" always preceded the "why," the technique of the subject preceded its philosophy.
Tobias Dantzig
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The mathematical activity of Ancient Greece reached its peak during the glorious era of Euclid, Eratosthenes, Archimedes and Apollonius, a time when Greek letters, art and philosophy were already on the decline.... it was not Greece proper but its outposts in Asia Minor, in Lower Italy, in Africa that had contributed most to the development of mathematics.
Tobias Dantzig
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Banish the infinite process, and mathematics pure and applied is reduced to the state in which it was known to the pre-Pythagoreans.
Tobias Dantzig
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Mathematical achievement shall be measured by standards which are peculiar to mathematics. These standards are independent of a crude reality of our senses. They are: freedom from logical contradictions, the generality of the laws governing the created form, the kinship which exists between this new form and those that have preceded it.
Tobias Dantzig
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Mathematics is not only the model along the lines of which the exact sciences are striving to design their structure; mathematics is the cement which holds the structure together.
Tobias Dantzig
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And so matching by itself is incapable of creating an art of reckoning. Without our ability to arrange things in ordered succession little progress could have been made. Correspondence and succession, the two principles that permeate all mathematics - nay, all realms of exact thought - are woven into the very fabric of our number system.
Tobias Dantzig
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It is a remarkable fact that the mathematical inventions which have proved to be most accessible to the masses are also those which exercised the greatest influence on the development of pure mathematics.
Tobias Dantzig
Quote of the day
There are not fifty ways of fighting, there's only one, and that's to win. Neither revolution nor war consists in doing what one pleases.
André Malraux
Tobias Dantzig
Born:
February 19, 1884
Died:
August 9, 1956
(aged 72)
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