FOM: Infinitesimals and gift suggestions jshipman at
Tue Dec 2 09:03:19 EST 1997

Thanks to Sol for the recommendation.  I went to and ordered
Dawson's "Logical Dilemmas" (Godel biography).  (It's expensive -- $49.95.)
One book which I would like to recommend is David Berlinski's "A Tour of the
Calculus".  It has a great deal to say about the historical development of
calculus and the introduction of and eventual purging of infinitesimals.  It is
also a very strange but rewarding book, in which the mathematics is clear but
the literary, philosophical, and cultural flights of fancy demand careful
attention.  In addition to the material on real numbers and calculus, FOM
readers will enjoy Berlinski's treatment of mathematics as a human enterprise
not to be severed from the rest of the culture.            -- Joe Shipman

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