A story of mathematics, philosophy, and how together they shaped the modern world
“Let no one ignorant of geometry enter here,” Plato warned would-be philosophers. Mathematician Karl Sigmund agrees.
In The Waltz of Reason, he shows how mathematics and philosophy together have shaped our understanding of space, chance, logic, cooperation, voting, and the social contract. Sigmund shows how game theory is integral to moral philosophy, how statistics shaped the meaning of reason, and how the search for a logical basis for math leads to deep questions about the nature of truth itself. But this is no dry tome: Sigmund’s wit and humor shine as brightly as his erudition.
The Waltz of Reason is an engrossing history of ideas as vibrant as a ballroom full of dancers, one that empowers as it entertains, following the complex and occasionally dizzying steps of the thinkers who have molded our thought and founded our world.
About the Author
Karl Sigmund is a professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of Vienna. One of the pioneers of evolutionary game theory, he has authored several other books on mathematics and philosophy, including Games of Life and Exact Thinking in Demented Times. He lives in Vienna, Austria.
“An erudite, witty, tongue-in-cheek and wide-ranging discourse on philosophy and mathematics, a Gödel, Escher, Bach for the 21st century.”—Christof Koch, PhD, author of The Feeling of Life Itself
“A delightful historical tour of the interplay of Mathematics and Philosophy.”—Brian Skyrms, University of California, Irvine
“Mathematics and Philosophy have always been great dance partners throughout human history. Karl Sigmund is the perfect companion to lead readers on this merry dance. His combination of deep mathematical and philosophical knowledge combined with his entertaining prose will have readers waltzing through this wonderful book.”—Marcus du Sautoy, author Around the World in Eighty Games
“Lucid, readable, and fascinating. Karl Sigmund acts as our friendly guide to topics as diverse as the meaning of numbers, the limits of computers, and the impossibility of a fair voting system. Highly recommended!”—Ian Stewart, author of What’s the Use?