The Discovery of Incommensurability by Hippasus of Metapontum

  • Kurt von Fritz
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 240)


The discovery of incommensurability is one of the most amazing and far-reaching accomplishments of early Greek mathematics. It is all the more amazing because, according to ancient tradition, the discovery was made at a time when Greek mathematical science was still in its infancy and apparently concerned with the most elementary, or, as many modern mathematicians are inclined to say, most trivial, problems, while at the same time, as recent discoveries have shown, the Egyptians and Babylonians had already elaborated very highly developed and complicated methods for the solution of mathematical problems of a higher order, and yet, as far as we can see, never even suspected the existence of the problem.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

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  • Kurt von Fritz

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