Six Quotes: Hall on Plato and Math


  1. “I went back to all the advice I’ve been given about talking to a big group, and they said I have to tell a joke. I don’t know many jokes and all the ones I do know are math jokes. [. . . ] That was a joke.”
  2. “Math trains you to see what is really meant, not the shadows around us; this may be the first step in understanding ‘Truth’ and ‘Justice’.”
  3. “There is only one way of knowing: the mathematical way of knowing. You can’t know something any other way.”
  4. “Why is math so successful, why does it last? Because in math, we don’t accept a statement as true unless it has a proof — an explanation of why a fact has to be true.”
  5. “As I face the long winter of life I don’t know if I can cling to proofs for warmth, but I can trust them, because they’ll always be here and they’ll always be true. That’s very comforting as I get older.”
  6. “There are just five Platonic solids. But why are there only five? There’s no proof, no explanation of why this must be so.”

As recorded by Core office employee Winona Hudak during Prof. Richard Hall’s discussion of mathematics and The Republic, at the November 29th CC101 lecture.