Metaphysical Principles of the Infinitesimal Calculus

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Author: Rene Guenon Publisher: Sophia Perennis Year: 2004 Pages: 132 Printed: USA ISBN: 0-900588-12-8 Binding: Soft Cover Book Condition: New Weight: 236gr. Description: One of the ways contemporary ‘scientism’ encroaches upon metaphysics is through an irresponsible use of such terms as ‘zero’ and ‘infinity’. Mathematics as ‘pure abstraction’ seems to the uninformed like a kind of ‘mystical language’ empowering scientists to unravel the secrets of the universe and to express them in precise terms that allow technicians-whom we like to call ‘wizards’-to transform them into devices of awesome complexity and power.

Guénon agrees with Plato that mathematics can furnish symbols for metaphysics. But it cannot fulfill this function if metaphysical principles in themselves are not understood-which they clearly are not by the vast majority of modern mathematicians and scientists. Guénon sees Leibnitz, discoverer of the infinitesimal calculus and major critic of Descartes, as a significant modern philosopher of mathematics, whose insights are worth placing in a metaphysical context-something Leibnitz himself tried to do. Guénon helps make these efforts more metaphysically intelligible, and transposes them to a higher level. In Metaphysical Principles of the Infinitesimal Calculus, René Guénon points the way toward a rediscovery of mathematics as the handmaiden of metaphysics.

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