Summary: Reading Guide for Morris Kline's Mathematics in Western Culture
1. What aspects of mathematics are missing if we consider the subject as merely a series of techniques?
2. What is meant by "postulational thinking"?
3. What are some driving forces that motivate people to study mathematics? List 3 - 5 that come to
4. In what ways is mathematics considered beautiful?
5. In mathematics, what does one mean by "truth"?
6. Comment on the use of mathematics to "control" or "have power" over nature.
II. The Rule of Thumb in Mathematics
7. What is place value? List modern remnants of number bases other than base 10.
8. In reading Chapter II, consider the following groups of people and list contributions they made to
Egyptians Babylonians Greeks Hindus
9. What motivated each of the four groups above to contribute what it did to mathematics?
10. How do we show today that, as stated on page 23, "of all rectangles with a given area, the square
has the least perimeter"?
11. In what ways has the mathematics of these people been involved with their religion?
III. The Birth of the Mathematical Spirit
12. In what major ways did Greek mathematics differ from that of the Egyptians and Babylonians?