Fermat Pierre de

<mathematics, epistemology, philosophy of science, Descartes, Pascal, theory of probability, last theorem> French jurist and amateur mathematician (1601-1665). Although he engaged in a lengthy and bitter dispute with Descartes, Fermat worked together with Pascal on the development of the modern theory of probability. The famous "Last Theorem" Fermat proposed in a marginal notation-that for any n greater than 2, there are no integers that satisfy the equation xn + yn = zn -was proven only in 1994. Recommended Reading: Michael Sean Mahoney, The Mathematical Career of Pierre de Fermat, 1601-1665 (Princeton, 1994); Simon Singh and John Lynch, Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem (Bantam, 1998); and Morris Kline, Mathematical Thought from Ancient to Modern Times (Oxford, 1990).

[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]


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