Quandaries and Queries

Subject: aristotle

I would like to know how aristotle was related to math.

In all my searches I have found only philosophy etc. But not any math.


Hi John,

The place I went to look for an answer to your question was The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive. Follow the link to the Biographies Index and look for Aristotle under A. The first sentence in the biography of Aristotle mirrors what you found.

Aristotle was not primarily a mathematician but made important contributions by systematising deductive logic. A statement further down the page does however indicate the very strong influence he has had on how we do mathematics, and how we use mathematics to structure the knowledge we have in other areas. The sciences - at any rate the theoretical sciences - are to be axiomatised. What, then, are their axioms to be? What conditions must a proposition satisfy to count as an axiom? again, what form will the derivations within each science take? By what rules will theorems be deduced from axioms? Those are among the questions which Aristotle poses in his logical writings, and in particular in the works known as Prior and Posterior Analytics.


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