Sunday, October 14, 2012


Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 9:00 PM

"Mathematics is not the rigid and petrifying schema, as the layman so much likes to view it; with it, we rather stand precisely at the point of intersection of restraint and freedom that makes up the essence of man itself."

— A translated remark by Hermann Weyl, p. 136, "The Current Epistemogical Situation in Mathematics" in Paolo Mancosu (ed.) From Brouwer to Hilbert. The Debate on the Foundations of Mathematics in the 1920s , Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 123-142, as cited by David Corfield

Corfield once wrote that he would like to know the original German of Weyl's remark. Here it is:

"Die Mathematik ist nicht das starre und Erstarrung bringende Schema, als das der Laie sie so gerne ansieht; sondern wir stehen mit ihr genau in jenem Schnittpunkt von Gebundenheit und Freiheit, welcher das Wesen des Menschen selbst ist."

— Hermann Weyl, page 533 of "Die heutige Erkenntnislage in der Mathematik" (Symposion  1, 1-32, 1925), reprinted in Gesammelte Abhandlungen, Band II  (Springer, 1968), pages 511-542

For some context, see a post of January 23, 2006.

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