In 1655, the philosopher Thomas Hobbes claimed he had solved the centuries-old problem of "squaring of the circle" (constructing a square equal in area to a given circle). With a scathing rebuttal to Hobbes's claims, the mathematician John Wallis began one of the longest and most intense intellectual disputes of all time. "Squaring the Circle" is a detailed account of this controversy, from the core mathematics to the broader philosophical, political, and religious issues at stake.
Hobbes believed that by recasting geometry in a materialist mold, he could solve any geometric problem and thereby demonstrate the power of his materialist metaphysics. Wallis, a prominent Presbyterian divine as well as an eminent mathematician, refuted Hobbes's geometry as a means of discrediting his philosophy, which Wallis saw as a dangerous mix of atheism and pernicious political theory.
Hobbes and Wallis's "battle of the books" illuminates the intimate relationship between science and crucial seventeenth-century debates over the limits of sovereign power and the existence of God.
|List of Abbreviations|
|The Mathematical Career of the Monster of Malmesbury|
|The Reform of Mathematics and of the Universities Ideological Origins of the Dispute|
|De Corpore and the Mathematics of Materialism|
|Disputed Foundations Hobbes vs. Wallis on the Philosophy of Mathematics|
|The "Modern Analytics" and the Nature of Demonstration|
|The Demise of Hobbesian Geometry|
|The Religion, Rhetoric, and Politics of Mr. Hobbes and Dr. Wallis|
|Persistence in Error Why Was Hobbes So Resolutely Wrong?|
|Appendix: Selections from Hobbes's Mathematical Writings|
|Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Science & Its Conceptual Foundations S.
Number Of Pages: 424
Published: 1st January 1999
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.1 x 15.5 x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.6