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Subject: "Pythagoras and Euclid"     Previous Topic | Next Topic
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Monty
Member since Jul-27-04
May-16-09, 09:55 PM (EST)
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"Pythagoras and Euclid"
 
   Pythagoras died roughly 70 years before Plato's birth and 110 years before Aristotle's birth. Is there any evidence that either Plato or Aristotle knew of the Pythagorean Theorem? I've found none.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Pythagoras and Euclid alexbadmin May-17-09 1
     RE: Pythagoras and Plato Monty May-29-09 2
         RE: Pythagoras and Plato alexbadmin May-29-09 3
  RE: Pythagoras and Euclid g_edgar Jun-25-09 4
     RE: Pythagoras and Euclid alexbadmin Jun-25-09 5
     RE: Pythagoras and Euclid g_edgar Jun-26-09 6
         RE: Pythagoras and Euclid alexbadmin Jun-26-09 7

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alexbadmin
Charter Member
2395 posts
May-17-09, 08:29 PM (EST)
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1. "RE: Pythagoras and Euclid"
In response to message #0
 
   I believe this is a known fact that neither Plato nor Aristotle ever mentioned Pythagoras as a mathematician.


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Monty
guest
May-29-09, 08:39 PM (EST)
 
2. "RE: Pythagoras and Plato"
In response to message #1
 
   I suppose that's true, though in Rep VII 530d, he refers to 2 forms of motion. "The eyes are framed for astronomy and the ears for the movements of harmony -- and these are in some sort kindred sciences, as the Pythagoreans affirm." Astronomy is pretty mathematical, but in those days music was not

It also seems that Plato made several visits to southern Italy. Diogenes Laertius claimed he visited several Pythagoreans in Southern Italy (https://www.iep.utm.edu/p/plato.htm) and on his first visit there he mentioned that he had met two Pythagoreans (https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Philolaus)

Perhaps the Pythagoreans in Italy didn't remember, or at least didn't pay much attention to the famous Theorem. They were into philosopy, not math, and that might explain why Plato never knew about the Theorem.


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alexbadmin
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2395 posts
May-29-09, 11:48 PM (EST)
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3. "RE: Pythagoras and Plato"
In response to message #2
 
   >I suppose that's true, though in Rep VII 530d, he refers to
>2 forms of motion. "The eyes are framed for astronomy and
>the ears for the movements of harmony -- and these are in
>some sort kindred sciences, as the Pythagoreans affirm."
>Astronomy is pretty mathematical, but in those days music
>was not

I would vouch that the few history books I am aware of claim that among the experiences that led Pythagoras to his philosophy was the discovery of the harmonic scale.

>Perhaps the Pythagoreans in Italy didn't remember, or at
>least didn't pay much attention to the famous Theorem. They
>were into philosopy, not math, and that might explain why
>Plato never knew about the Theorem.

As a matter of fact, we do not know whether he knew or did not know it, but just that he never mentioned the theorem.


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g_edgar
Member since Jun-25-09
Jun-25-09, 09:25 PM (EST)
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4. "RE: Pythagoras and Euclid"
In response to message #0
 
   I have heard (maybe someone knows a source for this) that the modern scholarly opinion holds that the mathematics and philosophy attributed to Pythagoras actually dates from 100 years later (or something), and were intentionally mis-attributed to Pythagoras as a way of giving them added authority.


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alexbadmin
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2395 posts
Jun-25-09, 10:42 PM (EST)
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5. "RE: Pythagoras and Euclid"
In response to message #4
 
   According to DE Smith, vol 1 p 288, the available attributions of the theorem to Pythagoras are at least 500 years away. He notes that there is no known misnaming of the theorem which, in his view, adds weight to the attribution. TL Heath, in his commentray on Euclid mentions doubts expressed by G. Junge (1907), but argues in favor of the tradition.


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g_edgar
Member since Jun-25-09
Jun-26-09, 07:53 AM (EST)
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6. "RE: Pythagoras and Euclid"
In response to message #4
 
   Here are the comments from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
I guess this adjustment in thinking about Pythagoras is relatively recent ... the last 30 or 40 years.


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alexbadmin
Charter Member
2395 posts
Jun-26-09, 08:09 AM (EST)
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7. "RE: Pythagoras and Euclid"
In response to message #6
 
   Thank you. Very interesting.

Either way, the man is written about 2500 years after his time.


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