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A Mathematician's Apology Themes

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Aesthetics

One of Hardy's principal arguments is that theoretical mathematics, which he refers to as "real" or "pure" mathematics, has similar aesthetic qualities to those of art or poetry. Hardy invests much in his essay defending this position, explaining the beauty of Pythagoras's and Euclid's theorems, and comparing the aesthetics of pure mathematics to the simplistic and vulgar exercises that make up applied mathematics.

Creative Process

Throughout A Mathematician's Apology, Hardy compares the "real" mathematician to the creative artist. He uses poetry and art to make this comparison. He believes there is an objective "mathematical reality" that exists in the world, which is no different from the "physical reality," and it is up to the mathematician to discover and describe that reality. The best of pure math can be held as the highest of all art forms.

Self-Doubt

Despite Hardy's elitist tendencies and tremendous confidence in his own intellectual...

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This section contains 825 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Mathematician's Apology Study Guide
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Nonfiction Classics for Students
A Mathematician's Apology from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.