Synopses & Reviews
A guide to the practical art of plausible reasoning, this book has relevance in every field of intellectual activity. Professor Polya, a world-famous mathematician from Stanford University, uses mathematics to show how hunches and guesses play an important part in even the most rigorously deductive science. He explains how solutions to problems can be guessed at; good guessing is often more important than rigorous deduction in finding correct solutions. Vol. II, on Patterns of Plausible Inference, attempts to develop a logic of plausibility. What makes some evidence stronger and some weaker? How does one seek evidence that will make a suspected truth more probable? These questions involve philosophy and psychology as well as mathematics.
Review
"Polya . . . does a masterful job of showing just how plausible reasoning is used in mathematics. . . . The material in both volumes is fresh and highly original; the presentation is stimulating, informal, and occasionally humorous; examples from science, legal reasoning, and daily life make the arguments clear even to a nonspecialist. Polya's book is a rare event."
--Morris Kline, Scientific American
Review
"Professor Polya's beautifully written hook has become a classic."
---A. 0. L. Atkin, The Mathematical Gazette
Review
"Professor Polya . . . is interested in problem solving and the psychological aspects of mathematical discovery. . . . [These books] should provide many entertaining hours for anyone who cares to pick up the challenge."
--Carl Hammer, Journal of the Franklin Institute
Review
"Professor Polya presents a forceful argument for the teaching of intelligent guessing as well as proving. . . . There are also very readable and enjoyable discussions of such concepts as the isoperimetric problem and 'chance, the ever-present rival of conjecture.' "
--Bruce E. Meserve, The Mathematics Teacher