I’m read­ing through Morris Kline’s 1967 book Mathematics for the Nonmathemetician. I got a math mi­nor in col­lege, ek­ing through two se­mes­ters of cal­cu­lus, but would like a re­fresher both for per­sonal im­prove­ment and for the even­tual ed­u­ca­tion of the chil­dren. This won’t be in-depth ex­pla­na­tions, but notes on what­ever I find in­ter­est­ing.

Chapter 1 - Why Study Math?

Mathematics is dif­fi­cult to de­fine. Kline’s at­tempt is: math­e­mat­ics is what math­emet­ics does. It con­cerns the work of rea­son, pri­mar­ily to study na­ture. We study na­ture to un­der­stand na­ture, ful­fill­ing in­tel­lec­tual cu­ri­ousity (and I would say, as part of the do­min­ion man­date and the jour­ney to be­come as hu­man as pos­si­ble).

It’s prac­ti­cal pur­pose is to aid sci­ence. It also aids art, par­tic­u­larly mu­sic.

It helps us ac­quire truth and has af­fected our phi­los­o­phy and re­li­gion (although Kline ad­mits to not hav­ing a fi­nal an­swer on what truth is, or how it is ac­quired.)