Jens Hoyrup, recognized as the leading authority in social studies of pre-modern mathematics, here provides a social study of the changing mode of mathematical thought through history. His "anthropology" of mathematics is a unique approach to its history, in which he examines its pursuit and development as conditioned by the wider social and cultural context.
Hoyrup moves from comparing features of Sumero-Babylonian, Mesopotamian, Ancient Greek, and Latin Medieval mathematics, to examining the character of Islamic practitioners of mathematics. He also looks at the impact of ideologies and philosophy on mathematics from Latin High Middle ages through the late Renaissance. Finally, he examines modern and contemporary mathematics, drawing out recurring themes in mathematical knowledge.
Jens Hoyrup is Professor in the Department of Languages and Culture at Roskilde University in Denmark.
"Jens Hoyrup deals forthrightly with the most important question now facing historians of science: what is the relation between ideas and socioeconomic life? His conclusions are persuasive and stimulating. They go a long way to refuting the currently fashionable relativist view that science has been nothing but a collection of prejudices, conventions, and practical compromises. In this book one finds a welcome social history of science composed by a philologically sophisticated, technically informed scholar. " -- Lewis Pyenson, Universite de Montreal