Associated Students of Pomona College

MATH001 PZ-01 — Math Philosophy & the Real World

Grabiner, Judith — credit: 1.0

departments: Science,Technlgy,Society, Mathematics

Letter Grade

Registration for PO only: Open
Registration for PZ only: Closed
Registration for Unrestricted: Closed

Throughout history,
mathematics has changed the way people look at the world. This course will focus
on two examples: Euclidean geometry (which suggested to philosophers that
certainty was achievable by human thought) and probability and statistics (which
gave scientists a way of dealing with events that did not seem to follow any laws but
those of chance). Readings and problems will be taken from three types of sources:
(1) Euclid’s Elements of Geometry; (2) modern elementary works on probability and
its applications to the study of society and to gambling; (3) the writings of
philosophers whose views were strongly influenced by mathematics, such as Plato,
Aristotle, Pascal, Spinoza, Kant, Laplace, Helmholtz, and Thomas Jefferson.
Prerequisite: high school algebra and geometry.


  • PZMW — 2:45 p.m.–4 p.m. — Fletcher Hall, Room 110