Abstract / Synopsis

Teachers and students of mathematics often view history of mathematics as just mathematics as they know it, but in another form. This view is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of history of mathematics and the kind of knowledge it attempts to acquire. Unfortunately, it can also lead to a deep sense of disappointment with the history of mathematics itself, and, ultimately, a misunderstanding of the historical nature of mathematics. This kind of misunderstanding and the disappointment following from it--both raised to the level of resentment--run through the paper "A Critique of the Modern Consensus in the Historiography of Mathematics." My review of that paper, sent to me blind, became a response to it. In particular, this essay attempts to clarify the nature of the historical discipline and to show that author of the Critique ends up, in effect, wanting and not wanting history at the same time.



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© Michael N. Fried

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