Spengler and Mathematics in a Mesopotamian Mirror

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Abstract

Mathematics plays a major role in Der Untergang des Abendlandes – in
outspoken contrast to two other grand and famous syntheses from the same
epoch. In total, H. G. Wells’ slightly more extensive Outline of History from [1920]
thus offers no more than 12 references to the topic, all of them with any depth:

– In Confucius’ China, the literary class was taught mathematics as one of the
“Six Accomplishments” (p. 132);
– sound mathematical work was done in Alexandria (p. 197);
– Arabic mathematics built on that of the Greek (p. 336),
– and al-Khwa¯rizmı¯ was a mathematician (p. 336);
– the Mongol court received Persian and Indian astronomers and mathematicians (p. 374);
– mathematics and other sciences have been applied in war (p. 448);
– Napoleon had been an industrious student of mathematics as well as history
(p. 487);
– James Watt was a mathematical instrument maker (p. 506);
– the mathematical level of English post-Reformation universities was poor
(p. 525),
– but mathematics was compulsory at Oxford (p. 526);
– in post-1871 Germany, mathematics teaching might be interrupted by “long
passages of royalist patriotic rant” (p. 551);
– and finally, without the word “mathematics”, our “modern numerals are
Arabic; our arithmetic and algebra are essentially Semitic sciences” (p. 108).
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TitelOswald Spenglers Kulturmorphologie : Eine multiperspektivische Annäherung
RedaktørerSebastian Fink, Robert Rollinger
Antal sider18
Udgivelses stedWiesbaden
ForlagSpringer VS
Publikationsdato2018
Sider207-224
ISBN (Trykt)978-3-658-14040-3
ISBN (Elektronisk)978-3-658-14041-0
StatusUdgivet - 2018
NavnUniversal- und kulturhistorische Studien. Studies in Universal and Cultural History
ISSN2524-3780

Citer dette

Høyrup, J. (2018). Spengler and Mathematics in a Mesopotamian Mirror. I S. Fink, & R. Rollinger (red.), Oswald Spenglers Kulturmorphologie: Eine multiperspektivische Annäherung (s. 207-224). Springer VS. Universal- und kulturhistorische Studien. Studies in Universal and Cultural History