Mathematical Liaisons

in The Good Life in the Scientific Revolution

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780226409542
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226409566 | DOI:
Mathematical Liaisons

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This chapter sets some of Pascal's mathematical writings in the conversational contexts that helped refine his work. Pascal's friends—mathematicians and honnêtes homes alike—created conditions in which he came to develop his innovative views about mathematics and its power to cultivate the mind and to end dispute. The chapter also explores the implications for choosing a way to live that Pascal drew from his mathematical practice and discoveries. Properly considering mathematics and philosophy revealed the limits of reason for orienting one's life. The conversation of Pascal's friends helped him develop and sharpen his thoughts and writing. Pascal attempted in turn to make his words develop and sharpen their opinions; above all, their opinions about the greatness and wretchedness of humanity.

Keywords: Pascal; mathematical writings; mathematicians; honnêtes homes; mathematical practice

Chapter.  16535 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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