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Marston Morse – the wildness of logic

August 6, 2014

“The first essential bond between mathematics and the arts is found in the fact that discovery in mathematics is not a matter of logic. It is rather the result of mysterious powers which no one understands, and in which the unconscious recognition of beauty must play an important part. Out of an infinity of designs a mathematician chooses one pattern for beauty’s sake, and pulls it down to earth, no one knows how. Afterwards the logic of words and of forms sets the pattern right. Only then can one tell someone else. The first pattern remains in the shadows of the mind….The creative scientist lives in the ‘wildness of logic’ where reason is the handmaiden and not the master.”

(from ‘Mathematics and the Arts,’ The Yale Review, Summer 1951)


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