Proofs and Retributions, Or: Why Sarah Can’t Take Limits

Foundations of Science 20 (1):1-25 (2015)
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The small, the tiny, and the infinitesimal have been the object of both fascination and vilification for millenia. One of the most vitriolic reviews in mathematics was that written by Errett Bishop about Keisler’s book Elementary Calculus: an Infinitesimal Approach. In this skit we investigate both the argument itself, and some of its roots in Bishop George Berkeley’s criticism of Leibnizian and Newtonian Calculus. We also explore some of the consequences to students for whom the infinitesimal approach is congenial. The casual mathematical reader may be satisfied to read the text of the five act play, whereas the others may wish to delve into the 130 footnotes, some of which contain elucidation of the mathematics or comments on the history



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References found in this work

Non-standard Analysis.Gert Heinz Müller - 2016 - Princeton University Press.
Proofs and refutations: the logic of mathematical discovery.Imre Lakatos (ed.) - 1976 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Intuitionism.Arend Heyting - 1971 - Amsterdam,: North-Holland Pub. Co..
The Philosophy of Mathematical Practice.Paolo Mancosu (ed.) - 2008 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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