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The History of Mathematical Proof in Ancient Traditions, Hardback Book

The History of Mathematical Proof in Ancient Traditions Hardback

Edited by Karine (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris) Chemla


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.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 614 pages, 29 Tables, black and white; 14 Halftones, unspecified; 79 Line drawings, unspecified
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Western philosophy: Ancient, to c 500
  • ISBN: 9781107012219