By Benjamin Wardhaugh

Writings by way of early mathematicians characteristic language and notations which are rather various from what we are conversant in this present day. Sourcebooks at the background of arithmetic supply a few counsel, yet what has been missing is a advisor adapted to the wishes of readers impending those writings for the 1st time. How to learn ancient Mathematics fills this hole through introducing readers to the analytical questions historians ask while interpreting old texts.

Sampling genuine writings from the background of arithmetic, Benjamin Wardhaugh finds the questions that may unencumber the which means and value of a given text--Who wrote it, why, and for whom? What was once its author's meant which means? How did it succeed in its current shape? Is it unique or a translation? Why is it vital this day? Wardhaugh teaches readers to consider what the unique textual content may have gave the impression of, to think about the place and whilst it was once written, and to formulate questions in their personal. Readers choose up new talents with every one bankruptcy, and achieve the boldness and analytical sophistication had to take on almost any textual content within the background of mathematics.

  • Introduces readers to the equipment of textual research utilized by historians
  • Uses genuine resource fabric as examples
  • Features boxed summaries, dialogue questions, and recommendations for additional analyzing
  • Supplements all significant sourcebooks in arithmetic background
  • Designed for simple reference
  • Ideal for college students and teachers
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Additional info for How to Read Historical Mathematics

Example text

1: The Young Man’s Book of Knowledge (exterior). 2: The Young Man’s Book of Knowledge, title page.

I’m going to call these things “tertiary” sources—though that is not a standard term. Like secondary sources, they’re written after the time they refer to. They are based on secondary sources, just as secondary sources are based on primary sources. While they can be excellent, there can also sometimes be problems 31 Chapter 2 with the quality of the information they contain—that’s un­ derstandable since they are twice-removed from the primary sources, which are our only direct sources of information about the historical period in question.

You’ll have plenty of chances in this book to practice think­ ing about this. Old mathematics might use different concepts from the ones we’d use in the same situation—like Newton  There are more examples in Victor Katz’s History of Mathematics on p. 724 of the second edition. ” It might use concepts that you’ve never come across be­ fore—then you would have to see if you could figure out what the author meant, or if the same author gave a definition that would help you. ” By noticing any of these things—even if they seem a bit confusing—you learn something about the historical mathe­ matics and its author.

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