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Circles DisturbedThe Interplay of Mathematics and Narrative$
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Apostolos Doxiadis and Barry Mazur

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149042

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149042.001.0001

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Narrative and the Rationality of Mathematical Practice

Narrative and the Rationality of Mathematical Practice

(p.244) Chapter 9 Narrative and the Rationality of Mathematical Practice
Circles Disturbed

David Corfield

, Apostolos Doxiadis, Barry Mazur
Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the rationality of mathematical practice in relation to narrative. It begins with a discussion of Alasdair MacIntyre's account of rational enquiry, Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry, and how this might translate to scientific and mathematical enquiry. It then considers the telos of mathematical enquiry, along with rival claims to truth as the aim of mathematics. The chapter argues that to be fully rational, mathematicians must embrace narrative as a basic tool for understanding the nature of their discipline and research. It also calls for the partial validity of a pre-Enlightenment epistemology of mathematics as a craft whose advance is made possible only through a certain discipleship.

Keywords:   rationality, narrative, Alasdair MacIntyre, rational enquiry, scientific inquiry, mathematical enquiry, truth, mathematicians, epistemology

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