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Sharper comments on Truly Part Of You - Less Wrong

59 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 November 2007 02:18AM

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Comment author: Sharper 21 November 2007 05:26:23AM 5 points [-]

A valuable method of learning math is to start at the beginning of recorded history and read the math-related texts that were produced by the people who made important contributions to the progression of mathematical understanding.

By the time you get to Newton, you understand the basic concepts of everything and where it all comes from much better than if you had just seen them in a textbook or heard a lecture.

Of course, speaking from experience, reading page after page of Euclid's proofs can be exhausting to continue to pay enough mental attention to actual understand them before moving on to the next one. :)

Still, it does help tremendously to be able to place the knowledge in the mental context of people who actually needed and made the advances.

Comment author: Capla 18 October 2014 11:31:12PM *  0 points [-]

I believe that this is how St. John's College teaches math (and everything else). They only use primary texts. If anyone is interested in this approach, give them a look.

Comment author: Capla 18 October 2014 11:32:17PM 0 points [-]

Sorry. I didn't see the comment immediately below this one.