[OPE-L:1442] Re: Marx's maths

Alan Freeman (100042.617@compuserve.com)
Mon, 11 Mar 1996 16:02:49 -0800

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Re Marx's manuscripts

I thought Iwao's post was interesting but I didn't fully understand
this sentence

"Ruzavin(#2) wrote that expelling substances from mathematics
has no hope."

Could Iwao expand on this?

Iwao cites [1427 of 11/3]

#1 K. Marx: Matematicheskie Rikopisi, Nuaka, Moskow, 1968
japanese edition is translated by Takashi Sugawara, Otsuki, 1973

This can be got in Russia still and in various secondhand shops.
It has the original German and a Russian translation. It is
interesting to hear it is in Japanese. Stavros says it is in Greek also.
There is a very partial translation English, with a big commentary
so that you can't read the text without reading the commentary.

Does anyone know of any project to do a proper English
translation? I think it is not coming out as part of the

I think it wasn't intended as a deep philosophical analysis
of math. I read it just as Marx learning modern calculus.
His method of approach to learning was, I think, to
understand the historical roots of the process of
differentiation and the philosophical differences that
gave rise to the historical disputes. But I didn't get the
impression that his idea was to bequeath 'Marx's approach
to math' to the world.

I do think however it gives little credence to the idea
that Marx's problem was he couldn't do math, and that's
why he made a load of elementary errors.

It's quite complete and I thought very competent; it surveys
the three main schools in the history of differential calculus
and their different way of approaching dy/dx, plus analysis up
to the level of Taylor's theorem. It spends a lot of time on the
binomial theorem and there is a good discussion of the roots
of a polynomial and the concept of algebraic function.

There's even some linear algebra in it. Yes, and number theory.