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The purpose of this list is to host a slow reading of Jacob
Klein's seminal work, Greek Mathematical Thought and the Origin
of Algebra, in which Klein argues that the modern development of
algebra, although crucially based in the ancient work of
Diophantus, involved an essential transformation in which, while
something new and powerful was created, the original Greek
understanding of numbers was lost. Thus, in addition to its
historiographic interest, Klein's inquiry makes available the
possibility that something of that now-lost original Greek
understanding of numbers might be helpful in attempting to
resolve some of the latest perplexities of modern physics.[The
text is available in an inexpensive re-print from Dover.]

For a brief discussion of what I mean by "slow reading," please
see my essay at http://www.freelance-academy.org/slowread.htm.

This is one of a group of lists hosted by The Free Lance Academy,
whose main purpose is to create opportunities for serious,
committed intellectual inquiry outside the university, primarily
by means of online media such as internet mailing lists. For the
names of other lists in this group, search on the relevant
keywords listed below.

In the belief that the most effective way to learn something is
to teach it, another of the principal aims of The Free Lance
Academy is to provide opportunities for teaching, especially for
people who might not otherwise have such an opportunity. If you
would like to become a discussion leader of this list or any
other list hosted by The Free Lance Academy, please contact Lance
Fletcher, the President of The Free Lance Academy, at:
lrf@aya.yale.edu.

Keywords: The Free Lance Academy, freelance, freelance-academy,
philosophy, slow reading, Klein, mathematics, algebra, science

Group Information

  • 169
  • Mathematics
  • Dec 12, 1998
  • English

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