Mathematics in Society and History: Sociological Inquiries
This is the first book by a sociologist devoted exclusively to a general sociology of mathematics. The author provides examples of different ways of thinking about mathematics sociologically. The survey of mathematical traditions covers ancient China, the Arabic-Islamic world, India, and Europe. Following the leads of classical social theorists such as Emile Durkheim, Restivo develops the idea that mathematical concepts and ideas are collective representations, and that it is mathematical communities that create mathematics, not individual mathematicians. The implications of the sociology of mathematics, and especially of pure mathematics, for a sociology of mind are also explored. In general, the author's objective is to explore, conjecture, suggest, and stimulate in order to introduce the sociological perspective on mathematics, and to broaden and deepen the still narrow, shallow path that today carries the sociology of mathematics.
This book will interest specialists in the philosophy, history, and sociology of mathematics, persons interested in mathematics education, students of science and society, and people interested in current developments in the social and cultural analysis of science and mathematics.
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abstract activity algebra appear applied argues arithmetic became become Boole calculus Cardan century chapter Chinese claims Classical collective competition concept concerns conjecture considered construction continuity contributions created cultural discussion earlier early equations especially established example existence experience fact formal foundations functions geometry give given Greek human ideas important independent Indian mathematics individual intellectual interests knowledge later laws Leibniz less logic material mathe mathematical workers mathematicians meaning method mind nature networks Newton noted objects operations organization organizational particular period political position practical problems professional proofs published pure mathematics reality reason refer reflected relationship relatively represent representations result roots rules scientific sense social society sociology solution Spengler structure symbols theory things thought tion traditional translated truth understanding University Western writing