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“That small and unsensible shape”: Visual Representations of the Euclidean Point in Sixteenth-Century Print

Barany, Michael Jeremy (2012) “That small and unsensible shape”: Visual Representations of the Euclidean Point in Sixteenth-Century Print. Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science, 6 (1). pp. 148-159. ISSN 1913-0465

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Abstract

This paper probes the foundations and limits of visual representation in the sciences through a close reading of the diagrams that accompanied definitions of the geometric point in the first century of printed editions of Euclid’s Elements. I begin with the modal form for such diagrams of Euclid’s “small and unsensible shape,” showing how it incorporates a broad spectrum of conventions and practices related to the point’s philosophical and practical roles in the surrounding Euclidean geometry. I then explore the form’s several variations in order to consider the role of “mere representation” in geometric exegesis, and conclude by characterizing the curious relationship between things and their images and that relationship’s implications for understanding scientific knowledge and practice.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Barany, Michael Jeremy
Keywords: Scientific Realism; Epistemic Issues; Epistemology of Science
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Technology
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Jordan Miller
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2021 02:17
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2021 02:17
Item ID: 17866
Journal or Publication Title: Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science
Publisher: The University of Toronto
Official URL: https://spontaneousgenerations.library.utoronto.ca...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.4245/sponge.v6i1.16137
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Technology
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 3 October 2012
Page Range: pp. 148-159
Volume: 6
Number: 1
ISSN: 1913-0465
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17866

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