‘None Enters Here Unless He is a Geometer’: Simone Weil on the Immorality of Algebra

Aviad Heifetz read


The French philosopher Simone Weil (1909-1943) thought of geometry and algebra not as complementary modes of mathematical investigation, but rather as constituting morally opposed approaches: whereas geometry is the sine qua non of inquiry leading from ruthless passion to temperate perception, in accord with the human condition, algebra leads in the reverse direction, to excess and oppression. We explore the constituents of this argument, with their roots in classical Greek thought, and also how Simone Weil came to qualify it following her exchange with her brother, the mathematician André Weil.

Axiomathes,  vol. 32, no. 2 (July, 2022)

About the Author 

Aviad Heifetz is a professor in the Department of Management and Economics at the Open University of Israel.