The Mathematical Experience by Philip J. Davis

The Mathematical Experience

This is the classic introduction for the educated lay reader to the richly diverse world of mathematics: its history, philosophy, principles, and personalities.

Details The Mathematical Experience

TitleThe Mathematical Experience
Release DateJan 14th, 1999
PublisherMariner Books
GenreScience, Mathematics, Philosophy, Nonfiction

Reviews The Mathematical Experience

  • Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
    This book on history and philosophy is a good introduction to some of the more interesting aspects of the field. It has accessible ideas that are mind blowing nonetheless. From Godel, to Non-euclidian geometry, to Cantors many levels of infinity, Group theory and paradoxes and problems in the history of mathematics. It also covers the philosophy of mathematics as seen by someone who works and teaches the subject. Very enjoyable.
  • Andy
    One of my pet peeves is the belief that "creative" people are those who study the humanities and that "analytical" types (as if "analytical" must somehow stand in opposition to creativity) are those who study sciences and mathematics. Perhaps this belief stems from a mathematics education grounded in rote, memorization, and dull exercises. The Mathematical Experience is about mathematics, but takes a much more philosophical tone, exploring the co...
  • Meaningless
    Doing intermediate level Mathematics alone in cold nights of winters, i felt strange sensation of entering into the magical world of abstract math. The Math which has nothing to do with the mundane reality of daily life. later in life i left abstract math and philosophy for its application in different unrelated field. Although application of math was very interesting but my mind remained stuck in abstract world and that strange sensation.Years l...
  • Remy
    All in all, I'd say this is worth reading, although with some reservations. I can't complain too much, since I found it in the trash. It does a pretty great job introducing historical figures. Also, there are plenty of neat puzzles and proofs, if you can follow them.Here are my nitpicks:It definitely feels a bit dated, for one thing.The authors suffer terribly from the curse of knowledge; they obviously have no idea what is meant by "general read...
  • Shira
    Wow, from Plato to Polya, this venerable work looks very very much like it is worth reading, taking notes, and reading again just for the pleasure of it, once I actually have time to enjoy all of the citations (like the Myth of Euclid?! and Chinese mathematics!! -cool!!!).I so enjoy the study of teaching mathematics, pity I don't enjoy the students nearly as much, the vast majority of the time (ok, nearly all of the time, but I do enjoy planning ...
  • Arron
    This book does a good job coming to terms with the fundamental dilemma of mathematics: what in the world is it? While I don't agree with all their conclusions, the book really does convey a sense of the difficulties lying behind the mathematical experience. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the philosophy of mathematics or in epistemology in general.
  • Becca
    Good overview of the history of math and how it has shaped what mathematicians are researching today.
  • Tobias Trapp
    An outstanding book that proves that public understand of mathematics is possible.
  • Angus
    Somewhat technical but still accessible for the educated layman. Probably the most useful and interesting math book I have ever read.
  • Arnisador
    I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this book while a math major in college. Highly recommended for math fans.
  • Stephen
    Wonderful book for anyone interested in mathematicians and their place in society. The imaginary dialogs are hilarious.
  • André Luiz
    A new perception of math
  • Will
    "Our knowledge of what exists may go far beyond what we are able to calculate or even approximate. Here is a simple instance of this. We are given a triangle with three unequal sides. We ask, is there a vertical line which bisects the area of the triangle? Within algorithmic mathematics one might pose the problem of finding such a line, by ruler and compass, or by more generous means. Within dialectic mathematics, one can answer, yes, such a line...
  • Mahadev
    Intellectual dissonance! The history lesson is so important! Loved it as a 19 year old. And, now reading it as a 50-year old rereading it I feel even more inadequate in my knowledge of mathematics.I will be reading this a lot more in the coming days and years.
  • Tiffany
    From the preface: "The book is not intended to present a systematic, self-contained discussion of a specific corpus of mathematical material, either recent or classical. It is intended rather to capture the inexhaustible variety presented by the mathematical experience." .....I didn't love this book. I'm not even sure I'd say I liked it. It was roughly 50 pages of "Oh, that's (semi-)interesting," and 361 pages of "zzzzzZZzZzzZZZ." It's basically ...
  • Ton van Gessel
    This is a great book. If you are at all interested in mathematics you should read this. It's written in a pleasant stile. Its not overly popularized and not pedantic. It covers a wide range of subjects some things you will undoubtedly know, some things you know but never really thought about and some things completely new ( to me at least ). They don't force there opinion on you I wish more science writing was done in this style. As you see I don...
  • Dan
    this is an excellent book that discusses the history of mathematics, as well as the evolutions of mathematical philosophy, citing clear understandable examples.Reading this book helped me understand my discipline better and helped me understand where the field of mathematics has been and where it is heading.I think having a math background helped me understand this book. I don't know if someone without a math background would like this book as mu...
  • Matteo
    An interesting book, perhaps not for the general reader, about the state of mathematics today. reading it had a definite influence on my decision not to pursue pure mathematics as a career.It refers to the 'generic mathematician' as 'he' throughout
  • drublood Duro
    I tried my best to get through this, and was encouraged by the preface that claimed non math nerds would find comprehensible material in the book. I found very little I could relate to on any level, and finally gave up. hahaha.
  • Leo W.
    Completely accessible. Nicely written and not at all dated (despite being published in 1981). Compelling in its satire of the foundations of mathematics.
  • Yichen
    Stopped at p. 126 "Abstraction"QA8.4.D370 Crerar
  • Peter Flom
    What do mathematicians DO all day? This book provides some answers. Here is my review on Yahoo Voices: