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Mathematics and Mysticism, Name Worshipping, Then and Now
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 Mathematics and Mysticism, Name Worshipping, Then and Now
 English
 Tampakis, Kostas
 Mathematics  Mysticism and Orthodox spiritual experience  History and philosophy of science
 52017
 Kantor, JeanMichel [Author]. Mathematics and Mysticism, Name Worshipping, Then and Now
 Theology and Science
 Infinity  Naming  Allogoi  Meditation  Mathematics
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 JeanMichel Kantor (2011) Mathematics and Mysticism, Name Worshipping,Then and Now , Theology and Science, 9:1, 149156, DOI: 10.1080/14746700.2011.547017


The author’s purpose is to put together three different mystical approaches to mathematics which are located in different contexts and periods of recent times. The first is the nameworshipping movement in the Russia of the beginning of the twentieth century, which gave birth to the famous Moscow School of Mathematics. The paper starts by tracing the introduction of modern mathematical notions of infinity to Georg Cantor and then summarily discussing how nameworshipping, a mystical belief deemed heretical by the Russian Orthodox Church in prerevolutionary Russia, influenced Nikolai Luzin, via Father Florensky. This part of the paper thus draws heavily from Graham’s and Kantor’s Naming Infinity book of 2009. The second episode discussed, is the deep mystical approach to mathematics of the French philosopher Simone Weil. The author suggests that Weil reinterpreted Pythagorean and Platonic notions of rationality to apply Christian faith’s mysticism to mathematics. Thus, the introduction by Weil of the notion of Allogoi, literally the ‘nonrationals’ is shown to stem from these mystical aspirations. Finally, the third episode the author discusses is based on the autobiographical thoughts of the French mathematician Alexander Grothendieck. The author analyzes an excerpt from a letter to discuss the importance of mystical meditation and vision for Grothendieck. All three instances give a central role to the act of naming and the author suggests further theological and mathematical investigations of the naming process.
