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Mathematical Treasure: Mary Boole on the Psychology of Mathematics

Author(s): 
Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Mary Everest Boole (1832-1916) was the wife of the British mathematician George Boole. A self-trained mathematician in her own right, she authored several works on the psychology and methods of teaching and learning mathematics. In 1897, Mary Boole published The Mathematical Psychology of Gratry and Boole. The “Boole” in the title was her husband, George Boole, with whom she had a close intellectual and mathematical relationship. “Gratry” was Auguste-Joseph Alphonse Gratry (1805-1872), a French Catholic priest, theologian, and philosopher, who was the author of several popular books on logic and morals. Obviously, Mary was a follower of Gratry and his theories.

Title page of The Mathematical Psychology of Gratry and Boole by Mary Boole, 1897

The table of contents indicates the topics discussed in the work:

Table of contents from The Mathematical Psychology of Gratry and Boole by Mary Boole, 1897

An excerpt from “Chapter I” explains the author’s rationale.

Page 1 from The Mathematical Psychology of Gratry and Boole by Mary Boole, 1897

Page 2 from The Mathematical Psychology of Gratry and Boole by Mary Boole, 1897

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Page 7 from The Mathematical Psychology of Gratry and Boole by Mary Boole, 1897

The images above are supplied through the courtesy of the University of California Libraries. The work may be viewed in its entirety in the Internet Archive.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Mary Boole on the Psychology of Mathematics," Convergence (August 2018)

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