Article ID: CBB000411132

Mathematics and Spiritual Interpretation: A Bridge to Genuine Interdisciplinarity (2003)


This article is a spiritual interpretation of Leonhard Euler's famous equation linking the most important entities in mathematics: e (the base of natural logarithms), (the ratio of the diameter to the circumference of a circle), i (-1),1 , and XXX. The equation itself (ei+1 = 0>) can be understood in terms of a traditional mathematical proof, but that does not give one a sense of what it might mean. While one might intuit, given the significance of the elements of the equation, that there is a deeper meaning, one is not in a position to get at that meaning within the discipline of mathematics itself. It is only by going outside of mathematics and adopting the perspective of theology that any kind of understanding of the equation might be gained, the significant implication here being that the whole mathematical field might be a vast treasure house of insights into the mind of God. In this regard, the article is a response to the monograph by George Lakoff and Rafael Núñez, Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being (2000), which attempts to approach mathematics in general and the Euler equation in particular in terms of some basic principles of cognitive psychology. It is my position that while there may be an external basis for understanding mathematics, the results are somewhat disappointing and fail to reveal the full measure of meaning buried within that equation.


Description The article is a response to Lakoff and Núñez, Where Mathematics Comes From [411081].

Associated with

Book Lakoff, George; Núñez, Rafael E. (2000) Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being. unapi

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Coates, John; (2008)
Euler's Work on Zeta and L-Functions and Their Special Values (/isis/citation/CBB000931916/)

Article Bullynck, Maarten; (2010)
Factor Tables 1657--1817, with Notes on the Birth of Number Theory (/isis/citation/CBB001033636/)

Article Ferraro, Giovanni; (2004)
Differentials and Differential Coefficients in the Eulerian Foundations of the Calculus (/isis/citation/CBB000410838/)

Article Petrie, Bruce J.; (2012)
Leonhard Euler's Use and Understanding of Mathematical Transcendence (/isis/citation/CBB001251201/)

Book Richard Dedekind; Heinrich Weber; (2019)
Theorie Des Fonctions Algebriques d'Une Variable (/isis/citation/CBB160173996/)

Article Yap, Audrey; (2011)
Gauss' Quadratic Reciprocity Theorem and Mathematical Fruitfulness (/isis/citation/CBB001024184/)

Book Robin Wilson; (2018)
Euler's Pioneering Equation: The Most Beautiful Theorem in Mathematics (/isis/citation/CBB497710314/)

Article Bell, Jordan; (2010)
A Summary of Euler's Work on the Pentagonal Number Theorem (/isis/citation/CBB001022000/)

Book Kurt Godel; Solomon Feferman; John W. Dawson; Warren Goldfarb; Charles Parsons; Wilfried Sieg; (2013)
Kurt Gödel: Collected Works: Volume IV (/isis/citation/CBB660754544/)

Article Bartha, Paul; (2004)
Countable Additivity and the de Finetti Lottery (/isis/citation/CBB000410760/)

Article Giovanni Ferraro; (2020)
Euler and the Structure of Mathematics (/isis/citation/CBB453451930/)

Article Martínez Finkelshtein, Andrei; (2003)
El Análisis Numérico en los últimos 25 años (/isis/citation/CBB000530007/)

Book Moltmann, Jürgen; (2003)
Science and Wisdom (/isis/citation/CBB000501167/)

Book Koetsier, Teun; Bergmans, Luc; (2005)
Mathematics and the Divine: A Historical Study (/isis/citation/CBB000500288/)

Authors & Contributors
Ferraro, Giovanni
Rossini, Paolo
Haffner, Emmylou
Yap, Audrey
Wilson, Robin J.
Weber, Heinrich
Historia Mathematica
Cahiers François Viète Center for Epistemology and History of Science and Technology (CFV)
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Science in Context
Revue d'Histoire des Mathématiques
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
Oxford University Press
Librarie Philosophique J. Vrin
Edwin Mellen Press
Augsburg Fortress Press
Catholic University of America
Number theory; number concept
Philosophy of mathematics
Science and religion
Functions (mathematics)
Italian language
Euler, Leonhard
Gauss, Carl Friedrich
Hermite, Charles
Weber, Heinrich
Wallis, John
Stifel, Michael
Time Periods
18th century
19th century
20th century
Early modern
Rome (Italy)

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment