Article

On Euclid and the Genealogy of Proof

Author
  • Kevin Davey (University of Chicago)

Abstract

I argue for an interpretation of Euclid’s postulates as principles grounding the science of measurement. Euclid’s Elements can then be viewed as an application of these basic principles of measurement to what I call general measurements—that is, metric comparisons between objects that are only partially specified. As a consequence, rather than being viewed as a tool for the production of certainty, mathematical proof can then be interpreted as the tool with which such general measurements are performed. This gives, I argue, a more satisfying story of the origin of proof in Ancient Greece, and of the status of Euclid’s postulates.

How to Cite:

Davey, K., (2021) “On Euclid and the Genealogy of Proof”, Ergo 8: 3. doi: https://doi.org/10.3998/ergo.1140

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Published on
14 Dec 2021
Peer Reviewed