Plato and Aristotle on Mathematics

  • W. S. Anglin
  • J. Lambek
Part of the Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics book series (UTM)

Abstract

Plato (427-347 BC) believed that the objects in the universe fall into two very different classes, the material and the immaterial. A chair or an ox belongs to the class of material things. A soul or a number belongs to the class of immaterial things. The drawing of a square belongs to the material realm but the square itself belongs to the immaterial realm. Plato says of the students of geometry that they

make use of the visible forms and talk about them, though they are not thinking of them but of those things of which they are a likeness, pursuing their inquiry for the sake of the square as such and the diagonal as such, and not for the sake of the image of it which they draw (Republic 510d).

Keywords

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. S. Anglin
    • 1
  • J. Lambek
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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