We tend to think of mathematics as uniquely rigorous, and of mathematicians as supremely smart. In his introduction toThe Mathematical Experience,Gian-Carlo Rotanotes that instead, "a mathematician's work is mostly a tangle of guesswork, analogy, wishful thinking and frustration, and proof ... is more often than not a way of making sure that our minds are not playing tricks." Philip Davis and Reuben Hersh discuss everything from the nature of proof to the Euclid myth, and mathematical aesthetics to non-Cantorian set theory. They make a convincing case for the idea that mathematics is not about eternal reality, but comprises "true facts about imaginary objects" and belongs among the human sciences.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Davis and Hersh do for math what Hawking does for physics and Dawkins does for biology. I read this book in college where, admittedly, I was studying mathematics. But I loved the book for how it put into words the excitement of trying to solve a problem, and put into context the history of how we came to want to solve problems. There's music, art, nature, philosophy and more in the study of math, and the authors give fascinating pictures of mathematicians and their times, as well … more