Descartes' Dream: The World According to Mathematics 0151252602

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English Pages [339] Year 1986

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Descartes' Dream: The World According to Mathematics
 0151252602

Table of contents :
Contents
Preface
Acknowledgments
I. This Mathematized World
Descartes’ Dream
Where the Dream Stands Today
The Limits of Mathematics
Are We Drowning in Digits?
The Stochastized World: A Matter of Style?
Feedback and Control: The Equilibrium Machine
Computer Graphics and the Possibility of High Art
II. The Social Tyranny of Numbers
Mathematics and Rhetoric
The Criterion Makers: Mathematics and Social Policy
The Computerization of Love
Testing
Mathematics as a Social Filter
A “Marxian” Analysis of the Role of Computing in Organizations
III. Cognition and Computation
The Descriptive, Predictive, and Prescriptive Functions of Applied Mathematics
The Intellectual Components of Technology, Mathematics and Computation: Four Lists
Metathinking as a Way of Life
Three Meanings of Computation
What Scientific Computation is for
Why Should I Believe a Computer: Computation as Process and Product
The Whorfian Hypothesis: Ends and Means in Computer Languages
The Programming Milieu
IV. Perspectives Through Time
Of Time and Mathematics
Non—Euclidean Geometry and Ethical Relativism
The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Computers. Are We Hooked?
V. Mathematics and Ethics
Platonic Mathematics Meets Platonic Philosophy of Religion: An Ethical Metaphor
The Computer Thinks: An Interpretation in the Medieval Mode
Mathematics and the End of the World
VI. Personal Meanings
Mathematics and Imposed Reality
Loss of Meaning through Intellectual Processes: Mathematical Abstraction
VII. Envoi
Bibliography
Index

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