Mathematics and the Liberal Arts

Tony Shannon


The Liberal Arts deal with the human being as a whole and hence with what lies at the essence of being human. As a result, the Liberal Arts have a far greater capacity to do good than other fields of study, for
their foundation in philosophy enables them to bring students into contact with the ultimate questions which they are free to accept (or reject). Even if these questions have little or no ‘market value’, it
should be obvious that the way they are taught and learned is going to have a powerful impact upon the future of the students and society. It is suggested here that mathematics has an integral role in the study of the liberal arts in a first degree at a university where the ‘meal ticket’ is subsequently studied in the graduate or professional school.


Metaphysics; liberal arts; trivium quadrivium; humanism

Full Text:



Howard, Emily. Maths and Music. Oxford Today. 25 (1): 22, 2012.

Minati, Gianfranco. A conceptual proposal on the undecidability of the distribution law of prime numbers and theoretical consequences. Ratio

Mathematica, 37, 69-84, 2019.

Shannon, AG. Undecidability and interpretation: metatheoretic distinctions in Western philosophy. Metascience, 29, 163-166, 2020.

Newman, John Henry. Conscience, Consensus and the Development of Christian Doctrine. (Commentary and notes by James Gaffney). New

York: Doubleday, Ch.1, sect.2, no.7, 1992.

Nussbaum, Martha C. Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities. Princeton: Princeton University Press, p.10, 2010.

Walsh, David J. Restoring the Lost Center of Education. Cooperation in Education.47/48: 99, 1985.

Newman, John Henry. The Idea of a University. (Edited by Frank M. Turner). New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1996.

Gardner, Howard. Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed: Educating for the Virtues in the Twenty-First Century. New York: Basic Books (Perseus Books Group), 2011.

St. Augustine. Confessions. (Translated by Maria Boulding, OSB; edited by John E. Rotelle, OSA). Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, s, III, 4, 7. 1997.

Whitehead, Alfred North. The Origins of Modern Science. Science and the Modern World. New York: Macmillan, 1944.

Maritain, Jacques and Mortimer Jerome Adler. Scholasticism and Politics. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1940.

Larcombe, Peter J. Write, and write well – speak and speak well: the gospel according to Halmos and Rota. Palestine Journal of Mathematics. 6, 1-13, 2017.

Wolfe, Christopher. A Liberal Arts Education Can Be Realized Today. Cooperation in Education 47/48:105, 1985.

Solzhenitsyn, Alexandr. One Word of Truth (the 1970 Nobel speech on literature; translated by Thomas P. Whitney). New York: Harper & Row, 1972.

Jaroszynski, Piotr. Aquinas Metaphysics: Versus Mythology, Ontology, and Ideology. Thomism and Asian Cultures: Quadricentennial International Philosophy Conference. Manila: University of Santo Tomas, pp.86-98, 2011.

Maritain, Jacques. The Degrees of Knowledge, London: Bles, p. 5, 1932.

De Wulf, Maurice. History of Medieval Philosophy. (Translated by P. Coffey). London: Longmans, Green, p.9, 1936.

Wagner, David L. The Seven Liberal Arts and Classical Scholarship, The Seven Liberal Arts in the Middle Ages, David L. Wagner (ed.), Bloomington, Indiana University Press, p. 24, 1983.

Southern, R.W. Medieval Humanism and Other Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970.

Maritain, Jacques. True Humanism. (Translated by M.R. Adamson). London: Bles, 1938.

Adler, Mortimer J. How to Read a Book: The Art of Getting a Liberal Education, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1940.

Nef, John U. The University of Chicago and the World (1929-1951). In The Image of Man, M.A. Fitzsimmons, T. McAvoy and Frank O’Malley (eds), South Bend: Notre Dame University Press, pp. 407-33, 1959.

Gress, David. From Plato to NATO. New York: Free Press (Simon & Schuster), 1938.

McInerny, Ralph. Beyond the Liberal Arts. In The Seven Liberal Arts in the Middle Ages. David L. Wagner (ed.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983.

White, John Joiner. A Humean Critique of David Hume’s Theory of Knowledge. (Edited by John A Gueguen). Lanham, New York, Oxford:

University Press of America, pp.165-173, 1998.

Hardy, G.H. A Mathematician’s Apology. Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press.

Edwards, A.W.F. G.H. Hardy (1908) and Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium.

Genetics. 179, 1143-1150, 2008.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Tony Shannon

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Science & Philosophy - Journal of Epistemology, Science and Philosophy. ISSN 2282-7757; eISSN  2282-7765.