Squaring the Circle: The War Between Hobbes and Wallis

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University of Chicago Press, 1999 - 419 Seiten
In 1655, the philosopher Thomas Hobbes claimed he had solved the centuries-old problem of "squaring of the circle" (constructing a square equal in area to a given circle). With a scathing rebuttal to Hobbes's claims, the mathematician John Wallis began one of the longest and most intense intellectual disputes of all time. Squaring the Circle is a detailed account of this controversy, from the core mathematics to the broader philosophical, political, and religious issues at stake.

Hobbes believed that by recasting geometry in a materialist mold, he could solve any geometric problem and thereby demonstrate the power of his materialist metaphysics. Wallis, a prominent Presbyterian divine as well as an eminent mathematician, refuted Hobbes's geometry as a means of discrediting his philosophy, which Wallis saw as a dangerous mix of atheism and pernicious political theory.

Hobbes and Wallis's "battle of the books" illuminates the intimate relationship between science and crucial seventeenth-century debates over the limits of sovereign power and the existence of God.
 

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Inhalt

CHAPTER
1
CHAPTER
48
CHAPTER THREE
73
CHAPTER FOUR
131
CHAPTER FIVE
189
CHAPTER
247
CHAPTER SEVEN
293
Persistence in Error
340
APPENDIX
357
References
385
Index
411
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Über den Autor (1999)

Douglas M. Jesseph is assistant professor of philosophy at North Carolina State University.

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