In this third installment of his classic 'Foundations' trilogy, Michel Serres takes on the history of geometry and mathematics. Even more broadly, Geometry is the beginnings of things and also how these beginnings have shaped how we continue to think philosophically and critically. Serres rejects a traditional history of mathematics which unfolds in a linear manner, and argues for the need to delve into the past of maths and identify a series of ruptures which can help shed light on how this discipline has developed and how, in turn, the way we think has been shaped and formed.
This meticulous and lyrical translation marks the first ever English translation of this key text in the history of ideas.
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About the Author
Michel Serres is a Professor in the History of Science at Stanford University and a member of the Académie Française. A renowned and popular philosopher, he is a prize-winning author of essays and books, such as The Five Senses, Rome and Statues.
Randolph Burks is a philosopher specializing in phenomenology and philosophies of the body and nature. He has translated several works by Michel Serres, including Biogea, Variations on the Body and The Hermaphrodite (forthcoming) and the other two titles in the 'Foundations' series.
Table of Contents
The origins of geometry
The Universal: One of its First Constructions
The Differences: Chaos in the History of Science
Synthesis: The Science of History
Part One: Customs and Laws
1. First in History: Anaximander
Spaces without Exclusion: Juridical Origins
2. First in the rite: The royal victim
Spaces of Exclusion: Political Origins
3. First in dialectic: The interlocutor
Spaces of Exclusion: Discursive Origins
4.The Point at Noon
Part Two: Nature
5.First in History: Thales
From the pyramid to the tetrahedron: The optical origin
From Diogenes to Thales: The ethical origin
From the sun to the earth: The astronomical origin
6. First in philosophy: The ignorant slave boy
From Pythagoras to Zeno: The algorithmic origin
7. First in logic: The element
The automatic origin and Return to sociopolitical origins
Part three: Conclusion
8. The Measurement of the Earth: Herodotus