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Euclid: How Do We Know the Truth?

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Euclid: How Do We Know the Truth? - Page Text Content

S: Euclid: How Do We Know the Truth?

BC: Molly Hunold Period 3 January 11, 2013

FC: EUCLID how do we know the truth?

1: | Geometry | Geometry is both the simplest and the most complex study in mathematics. No memorizing equations or rules about what plus what- just logic and how the world fits together. It is formed upon the idea that nothing is assumable, that everything must be proven. You cannot skip from A to Z even if your map says so; you have to move from A to B to C and so on. Geometry is made of truths, and the truth is made of numbers.

2: EUCLID'S LIFE | {Below} Euclid lived in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter, who is pictured below. | {Left} Euclid wrote a book about his investigations into geometry called "Euclid's Elements of Geometry". Eudoxus of Cnidus, a Greek mathematician and astronomer, influenced Euclid by forming the basic mathematics for "Euclid's Elements". Until non-Euclidean geometry was introduced in the better part of the nineteenth century, "geometry" was synonymous with "Euclidean geometry". | {Next Page} Little is known about Euclid's personal life, and most knowledge of Euclid's life comes from the Greek philosopher Proculus. Proculus wrote a summary of of famous Greek mathematicians. According to him, Ptolemy I Soter once asked Euclid if there was a shorter road to geometry than through "The Elements". Euclid responded by saying that there was no Royal Road to geometry.

4: {Bottom Right} Religion parallels Euclid's pursuit of truth in a unique but treacherous way. Science and math are both forms of finding out what the set-in-stone truth is, but religion is based upon faith. People can have different viewpoints on religion. It is perfectly fine to simply say "That's what you think." when dealing with religion. Math is a type of truth that is not simply "Well... that's what you think." | {Top Left} When dealing with fact vs. opinion, science and math are extremely important. Both are about finding a truth that no-one can argue with. They're about explaining and discovering the world. What Euclid, and scientists everywhere, are trying to find is the cold-hard truth and the proof evidence to prove it. They are seeking a kind of truth that is the truth for everyone. | {Right} Society's perception of truth has greatly changed over time. Many of the truths we look at when considering how this perception have changed are not necessarily fact, but things society accept to be true because of social constructions made about them. An example of this is that two hundred years ago, people whole-heartedly believed that the worth of a person was determined by the color of their skin- they so whole-heartedly believed it that it was essentially fact. Nowadays, racism is not accepted by society in the slightest.

5: {Above} Obviously, mathematics have changed greatly since the time of Euclid. Knowledge of both science and mathematics have dramatically increased, and morphed into something that Euclid might not even have recognized. Non-Euclidean geometry, the study of geometry on more than one plane, has stemmed off of Euclid's work. Because of these great changes in mathematics, the perception of it has also greatly changed. | {Above} Despite all of the many praises Euclid's work has received, there are still those that challenge his work. In Euclid's time, he was accused of being too thorough in his proofs, but now is accused of not being thorough enough. There are several areas that had to be filled in by modern mathematicians, as well as several questionable ideas. However, Euclid's works are still considered one of the greatest mathematical works of all time. His book was used in schools up until 1903 to teach geometry. Above is an image of one of the surviving fragments of Euclid's original writings.

6: Euclid's individual pursuit of truth began while studying in Athens with Plato as his tutor. Ptolemy I Soter invited him to teach at a university in Alexandria, Egypt later on his his life. There, Euclid founded a school of mathematics. People such as Archimedes, one of the world's greatest mathematicians, studied at this school. Accounts of Euclid refer to him as just and helpful man. Also, he was very thorough in his writings, even proving things that many people simply accepted as fact.

7: Overtime, mathematics have greatly changed. They have become more complex, and are being taught to more and more children around the world. Society’s perception of mathematics, and the truth that accompanies it, have also changed. In general, people now tend to have a greater respect for knowledge and mathematics than they did in Euclid’s time. However, many people still dismiss mathematics as being useless and unimportant.

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  • By: Molly H.
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  • Title: Euclid: How Do We Know the Truth?
  • Molly H, Period 3
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  • Published: over 5 years ago