Tag Archives: plausibility

Euclid in the Rainforest

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Euclid in the Rainforest: Discovering Universal Truth in Logic and Math by Joseph Mazur:

Joseph Mazur's Euclid in the Rainforest from Plume


This book is ideal for a smart, but mathematically-untrained adult who wants orientation to some interesting and useful mathematical concepts, as well as a portal to mathematical epistemology. A little high school algebra and geometry, even if it’s fairly dusty, is plenty of background to appreciate the explanations here. Author Mazur builds his discussions of deduction, induction, probability, and plausibility into a series of autobiographical and historical anecdotes, within sections titled “Logic,” “Infinity,” and “Reality.” I really appreciated his explanation of transfinite numbers, a modern math concept that has always eluded me. The book has an apparatus with useful directions for further reading.

Some of the little stories in the book were ones I found difficult to credit, but perhaps that was a savvy way of giving the reader a motive to further ponder the notion of plausibility! [via]



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