Jacob Klein’s account of the origin of symbolic mathematics, which he finds in a strand of the history of mathematics wherein François Viète encounters and reinterprets Diophantus’ Arithmetica, will be the topic of the Reading Group. Klein’s philosophical analysis of the mathematical transformation of the concept and being of number that he argues is evident in Viète’s Introduction to the Analytic Art will be critically evaluated in light of his underlying thesis that, “The creation of the formal language of mathematics is identical with the foundation of modern algebra”
Text: “Die griechische Logistik und die Entstehung der Algebra” (1936). English translation: Greek Mathematical Thought and the Origin of Algebra.
1st meeting (with an introductory talk) Thursday, September 26, 15:00–17:00, next meetings Monday, October 7 and then every Monday until November 18, 14:00–16:00