Foundations of Science 26 (2):301-324 (2021)

The “common notions” prefacing the Elements of Euclid are a very peculiar set of axioms, and their authenticity, as well as their actual role in the demonstrations, have been object of debate. In the first part of this essay, I offer a survey of the evidence for the authenticity of the common notions, and conclude that only three of them are likely to have been in place at the times of Euclid, whereas others were added in Late Antiquity. In the second part of the essay, I consider the meaning and uses of the common notions in Greek mathematics, and argue that they were originally conceived in order to axiomatize a theory of equivalence in geometry. I also claim that two interpolated common notions responded to different epistemic needs and regulated diagrammatic inferences.
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DOI 10.1007/s10699-020-09694-w
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References found in this work BETA

The Euclidean Diagram.Kenneth Manders - 2008 - In Paolo Mancosu (ed.), The Philosophy of Mathematical Practice. Oxford University Press. pp. 80--133.
A Formal System for Euclid’s Elements.Jeremy Avigad, Edward Dean & John Mumma - 2009 - Review of Symbolic Logic 2 (4):700--768.

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