Benjamin Peirce on Euler’s Identity

| Permalink

I love this quotation from Benjamin Peirce (1809-1880):

“It is absolutely paradoxical; we cannot understand it, and we don’t know what it means, but we have proved it, and therefore we know it must be the truth.”

— Benjamin Peirce (after proving Euler’s Identity in a lecture)

It gets to the heart of mathematical epistemology: that there is a certainty in mathematical truths that exceeds the certainty of most other kinds of knowledge, even when the results are mysterious to us.

Leave a Reply

Name, email, and website are completely optional. Feel free to fill in only the information with which you are comfortable. I take privacy very seriously. If you provide an email address, it will not be published or shared in any way. Your comment will not appear on the site immediately because comments are moderated to prevent spam.