The History of Mathematical Proof in Ancient Traditions

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Karine Chemla
Cambridge University Press, Jul 5, 2012 - Philosophy
This radical, profoundly scholarly book explores the purposes and nature of proof in a range of historical settings. It overturns the view that the first mathematical proofs were in Greek geometry and rested on the logical insights of Aristotle by showing how much of that view is an artefact of nineteenth-century historical scholarship. It documents the existence of proofs in ancient mathematical writings about numbers and shows that practitioners of mathematics in Mesopotamian, Chinese and Indian cultures knew how to prove the correctness of algorithms, which are much more prominent outside the limited range of surviving classical Greek texts that historians have taken as the paradigm of ancient mathematics. It opens the way to providing the first comprehensive, textually based history of proof.

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John Philoponus and the conformity of mathematical proofs
The pluralism of Greek mathematics
demonstration in traditional
interactions of various

reconstruction of Archimedes diagram

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About the author (2012)

Karine Chemla is Senior Researcher at the CNRS (Research Unit SPHERE, France) and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. She is also Professor on a Guest Chair at Northwestern University, Xi'an, as well as at Shanghai Jiaotong University and Hebei Normal University, China. She was awarded a 'Chinese Academy of Sciences Visiting Professorship for Senior Foreign Scientists' in 2009.

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