Article ID: CBB001420736

Meta-Mathematical Rhetoric: Hero and Ptolemy against the Philosophers (2014)


Bringing the meta-mathematics of Hero of Alexandria and Claudius Ptolemy into conversation for the first time, I argue that they employ identical rhetorical strategies in the introductions to Hero's Belopoeica, Pneumatica, Metrica and Ptolemy's Almagest. They each adopt a paradigmatic argument, in which they criticize the discourses of philosophers and declare epistemological supremacy for mathematics by asserting that geometrical demonstration is indisputable. The rarity of this claim---in conjunction with the paradigmatic argument---indicates that Hero and Ptolemy participated in a single meta-mathematical tradition, which made available to them rhetoric designed to introduce, justify, and bolster the value of mathematics.

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Authors & Contributors
Castellana, Mario
Kieldsen, Tinne Hoff
Rahman, Shahid
Barbin, Évelyne
Tzanakis, Constantinos
Stehlíková, Nada
Science in Context
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Sciamvs: Sources and Commentaries in Exact Sciences
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Princeton University Press
Vydavatelský servis
Vittorio Klostermann
Walter de Gruyter
University of Minnesota
Philosophy of mathematics
Philosophy of science
Minkowski, Hermann
Brunn, Karl Hermann
Ibn al-Haytham, Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan
Ibn Khaldun
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
18th century
Alexandria (Egypt)
Great Britain
Ancient Near and Middle East: Egypt, Sumer, Babylon, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Palestine, Persia
Hellenistic world
Mediterranean region

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