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Defence of a “Shocking” Point of View

  • B. L. van der Waerden
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Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 240)

Abstract

In his paper “On the Need to Rewrite the History of Greek Mathematics” Sabetai Unguru severely criticizes the views of Tannery, Zeuthen, Neugebauer and myself on the “Geometrical Algebra” of the Greeks. Unguru summarizes our position in one sentence: “Greek ‘geometric algebra’ is nothing but ‘Babylonian algebra’ in geometrical attire”, and he starts to prove that this position is historically unacceptable. Unguru states his objections very clearly. The object of the present paper is to defend our position against this emphatic attack.

Keywords

Line Segment Quadratic Equation Geometrical Algebra Geometrical Problem Algebraic Thinking 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. 1.
    M.S. Mahoney: Die Anfänge der algebraischen Denkweise im 17.Google Scholar
  2. Jahrhundert, Rete 1 (1971), pp. 15–31. HoweverGoogle Scholar
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    O. Becker: API©MOI HAPAMHKEHIHEAOI, Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte der Math,B 4, p. 181 (1938).Google Scholar
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    See Proklos: Commentary on Platon’s Republic II, Chapters 23 and 27, or VAN DER WAERDEN: Science Awakening I, p. 126.Google Scholar
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    See P. Luckey: Täbit b. Qurra über den geometrischen Richtigkeitsnachweis der Auflösung der quadratischen Gleichungen. Sitzungsberichte Sächsische Gesellschaft der Wiss. Leipzig 1941, pp. 93–114.Google Scholar
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    E. Neuenschwander: Die ersten vier Bücher der Elemente Euklids. Archive for History of Exact Sciences 9 (1973), pp. 325–380.Google Scholar
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    S. Gandz, Osiris 3 (1938), p. 405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. L. van der Waerden

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