Philosophy and Fun of Algebra cover

Philosophy and Fun of Algebra

Mary Everest Boole (1832-1916)

1. 01 – From Arithmetic to Algebra
2. 02 – The Making of Algebras
3. 03 – Simultaneous Problems
4. 04 – Partial Solutions.. Elements of Complexity
5. 05 – Mathematical Certainty…
6. 06 – The First Hebrew Algebra
7. 07 – How to Choose Our Hypotheses
8. 08 – The Limits of the Teacher
9. 09 – The Use of Sewing Cards
10. 10 – The Story of a Working Hypothesis
11. 11 – Macbeth’s Mistake
12. 12 – Jacob’s Ladder
13. 13 – The Great x of the World
14. 14 – Go Out of My Class-Room
15. 15 – Square Root of Minus One
16. 16 – Infinity
17. 17 – From Bondage to Freedom
18. 18 – Appendix

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Mary Everest Boole (1832-1916) was born Mary Everest in England and spent her early years in France. She married mathematician George Boole. She was the author of several works on teaching and teaching mathematics in particular. This short book, Philosophy and Fun of Algebra, is meant to be read by children and introduces algebra and logic. She uses the word “algebra” broadly, defining it as a “method of solving problems by honest confession of one’s ignorance”. Using this definition, Boole introduces, in a conversational manner, the concepts of logic and algebra, illustrating these concepts with stories and anecdotes, often from biblical sources. At times, her discussion seems somewhat mystical, speaking of the imagination and angels as messengers which guide one toward the next step in a logical investigation. Boole ends the book with a reminder that algebra’s essential element is “the habitual registration of the exact limits of one’s knowledge” and a call for the public to keep this principle in mind when encountering any situation.