The Development Of Mathematics - E.T. Bell
Dover Publications (1992)
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Mathematics, Mathematics - History, Mathematics / General, Mathematics / History & Philosophy, Mathematics/ History

This time-honored study by one of the 20th century's foremost scholars and interpreters of the history and meaning of mathematics surveys the role of mathematics in civilization. It describes clearly the main principles, methods, and theories of mathematics that have survived from 4000 B.C. to 1945. 1945 edition.

Product Details
LoC Classification QA21 .B4 1992
Dewey 510.9
Format Paperback
Cover Price 24,95 €
No. of Pages 637
Height x Width 220 x 138 mm

The great mathematician Saunders Mac Lane (1909--2005, with several books available on Amazon) reviewed this book in 1946. His comments are worth reading still:

This magnificent, inclusive, and provocative survey of the origin and adventures of mathematical ideas has now appeared in a second edition. Various material has been added; an extensive survey of recent developments in lattice theory, together with notes on recent advances in such disparate subjects as Diophantine Analysis (Mordell, Segre), Waring's problem (Niven), unified field theory (Einstein), surface area (Youngs), three-valued logic and quantum mechanics (Reichenbach), the inconsistency of Quine's system of logistic (Rosser), the advances in completeness theorems in logic (Kleene), and the use of mathematics during the second world war. Various other statements have been brought up to date by the simple device of replacing 1940 by 1945....

The great virtue of this book is that it does not merely record facts, but it arranges ideas and passes judgment as to their importance. This aim, combined with the tremendous scope of the work, makes it inevitable that there should be errors both of fact and of judgment....

But enough of carping criticism. It's great fun to read this book, just because there are so many chances profitably to disagree with its provocative author. The wealth of possible topics of difference must be read to be appreciated. Is Plato as vicious as Bell's everywhere dense cracks would indicate? Does Bell overemphasize the importance of lattice theory and miss some of the significant developments in modern topology? Has this hard-headed author been duped by the advocates of Brouwerian logic and many-valued logics? Is Frechet's work as significant as Bell claims? Might some mathematical war workers disagree with Bell's dismissal of spherical trigonometry as useless?

The book is of great value for many classes of readers.... The philosopher wiI1 disagree with the jabs at Kant, but will profit from the view of living mathematics. The young mathematician will gain background and will learn of the ebb and flow of fashion in the specialties of research, To all these and others one might say: don't wonder about it, but go, read, and disagree for yourself.