, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 317–320 | Cite as

Worshiping names: Russian mathematics and problems of philosophy and psychology in the Silver Age

Loren R. Graham and Jean-Michel Kantor: Naming infinity: A true story of religious mysticism and mathematical creativity. Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009, x+239pp, $25.95 HB
  • Karl HallEmail author
Book Review

Graham and Kantor beautifully narrate the divergent responses to the aporia of set theory in the first half of the twentieth century, tying the Russian side of the story to broader fin-de-siècledebates about the synthesis of Orthodox faith and modern philosophy. In a scant 200 pages, this book makes a lively and invaluable contribution to the restoration of mathematics to the common agendas of historians of science and will reward the attention of other scholars as well. The lay reader can and will reasonably take this as a brief guide to the history of modern mathematics in twentieth century Russia, and in certain respects it is primarily a synthetic work, relying heavily on recent Russian secondary literature, especially the work of Nikolai Luzin’s biographer, Sergei Demidov. As such the reader should be warned that it is a story very much centered on Moscow and does not pretend to represent other currents in Russian mathematics. The authors entertain other ambitions, however, and...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryCentral European UniversityBudapestHungary

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