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Open Access 14 Reception and the Textuality of History: Ramus and Kepler on Proclus’ History and Philosophy of Geometry

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14 Reception and the Textuality of History: Ramus and Kepler on Proclus’ History and Philosophy of Geometry

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Chapter Summary

In the Prooemium mathematicum of 1567, Petrus Ramus' opinion about Proclus is positive: the Neoplatonist may not have been a great logician, he was an excellent mathematician, whose commentary on Euclid is definitely worth the effort of reading. Ramus' initial judgment rapidly changes when he broaches the subject of the so-called Platonic polyhedra. After all, apart from the educational value of the Elements, as an all-embracing starter pack for both teachers and students, Proclus had also mentioned a second, more important goal of geometry. The passage of Proclus' Commentary on the First Book of Euclid's Elements referred to by Ramus is situated at the beginning of the famous history of geometry reported in the second prologue. In the prologue of the first book of the Harmonices mundi, published in Linz in 1619, Johannes Kepler directly challenges Ramus' interpretation of Proclus' commentary.

Keywords: Euclid; Harmonices mundi; Johannes Kepler; Petrus Ramus; Proclus; Prooemium mathematicum



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