Euclid in the Rainforest: Discovering Universal Truth in Logic and Math

Overview

Like Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach, and David Berlinski’s A Tour of the Calculus, Euclid in the Rainforest combines the literary with the mathematical to explore logic—the one indispensable tool in man’s quest to understand the world. Underpinning both math and science, it is the foundation of every major advancement in knowledge since the time of the ancient Greeks. Through adventure stories and historical narratives populated with a rich and quirky cast of characters, Mazur artfully reveals the ...

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Overview

Like Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach, and David Berlinski’s A Tour of the Calculus, Euclid in the Rainforest combines the literary with the mathematical to explore logic—the one indispensable tool in man’s quest to understand the world. Underpinning both math and science, it is the foundation of every major advancement in knowledge since the time of the ancient Greeks. Through adventure stories and historical narratives populated with a rich and quirky cast of characters, Mazur artfully reveals the less-than-airtight nature of logic and the muddled relationship between math and the real world. Ultimately, Mazur argues, logical reasoning is not purely robotic. At its most basic level, it is a creative process guided by our intuitions and beliefs about the world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452287839
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/25/2006
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 519,164
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Mazur is Professor of Mathematics at Marlboro College, where he has taught a wide range of classes in all areas of mathematics, its history, and philosophy.

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  • Posted April 7, 2009

    An interesting approach

    Mazur approaches the subject of truth and logic in mathematics from an interesting angle, which immediately creates a degree of interest for the layperson. The explorations of certain mathematical principles are well illustrated, although in some respects perhaps a bit too simplistic.

    It is difficult to comprehend, though, that Mazur (like many of his peers) persist in the concept that a coin has only two sides so that when flipped, only head or tail come up. Ever heard of the coin landing on its edge?

    Also, when discussion Galton's Board, Mazur fails to mention that the ball's decision to fall left or right might be influenced by (a) earth's magnetism, and/or (b) the rotation of the earth.

    At times, appealing to the public by being too simplistic can also have its downsides.

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