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Joan L. Richards

Visiting Scholar (Sep 2018-Dez 2018)

PhD, Professor, Brown University

Joan Richards earned her PhD in the History of Science from Harvard in 1980 with a dissertation on the reception of non-Euclidean geometry in nineteenth-century England, and has been a professor in the History Department of Brown University since 1982. Her primary interests remain focused on the ways developments in mathematics are entwined with understandings of reason. Her particular project was “Generations of Reason,” a book-length study of the ways three generations of an English family interpreted what it meant to lead their lives as humans who were defined by the power of reason. In addition to finishing the manuscript for this book, she participated in “The Simplicity Seminar: What is Simplicity in Mathematics and the Sciences?” 

During her stay at the MPIWG in the fall of 2018, Joan finished the manuscript of her book, Generations of Reason, and submitted it to the University of Chicago Press


No current projects were found for this scholar.

Generations of Reason


Selected Publications

Richards, Joan (2011). “This compendious language : mathematics in the world of Augustus De Morgan.” Isis, 2011, 506–510.

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Richards, Joan, Michael Hobart, and John Wood (2008). “Augustus De Morgan’s logic.” In British logic in the nineteenth century : handbook of the history of logic, 4:283–329. Springer.

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Richards, Joan (2002). “‘In a rational world all radicals would be exterminated’ : mathematics, logic and secular thinking in Augustus De Morgan’s England.” Science in context 15: 137–164.

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