Dostoyevsky as mathematician (part II)

Abstract

The image of mathematics in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novels is clearly negative. Notes from Underground contain several famous and violent pages against Mathematics, and this criticism is also echoed in other masterpieces, such as Crime and Punishment and The Possessed. Dostoevsky explicitly accuses mathematical determinism of being arrogant and oppressive. On the other hand, some of his main characters, such as Kirillov in The Possessed and Ivan in The brothers Karamazov, seem to disclose unexpected mathematical sympathies. Here, in Part II of a two-part article, we discuss Dostoyevsky’s opinion of mathematics and, more generally, of science. We also compare truth and freedom in mathematics and in the vision of the Russian writer.

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Correspondence to Carlo Toffalori.

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Telloni, A.I., Toffalori, C. Dostoyevsky as mathematician (part II). Lett Mat Int 3, 197–204 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40329-015-0097-x

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Keywords

  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Mathematics
  • Literature