Counter Euclid's Elements

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As a college student in the twenty first century, a century filled with technology and scientific advances, students are constantly learning from material that was written and developed in a different time period. These works that students are studying, whether they have been used for centuries or decades or merely a few years, are quickly losing there relevance as science and technology grow at an exponential rate. In society today, students are encouraged to use skepticism when learning and to question the material they are analyzing. In the work, Elements, by Euclid, the author structures his argument and thesis around predetermined or defined terms that are his initial chapters of the work. The ability to define these terms helps clarify …show more content…
Euclid’s work, Elements, is based around the early mathematical understanding of what is present day geometry. The work begins with definitions. The Oxford English dictionary labels the process and point of definitions to be, stating or describing the nature of scope of meaning of a specific term. (‘Define’) Euclid’s first definition is, “a point is that which has no part”(22). In modern science, numerous theories have been developed and many studies have been conducted that would prove Euclid’s statement to be false. Due to theories not being scientific fact, one cannot blankly state that Euclid’s definition is incorrect, however depending upon the individual, the definition of a point seems to be too simplistic to be describing the nature of something. So varying based on the reader, one might see this first definition to be a strike against Euclid’s argument and the validity of his geometry. However, Euclid is still read and discussed in colleges and schools throughout the world today, so what about these definitions are applicable to society today? An aspect of Euclid’s definition …show more content…
Euclid states, “a surface is that which has length and breadth only”(22). The term surface is one that is controversial in science today. Due to theories such as string theory, the idea of infinite dimensions is a possibility in modern science. Euclid does not define surface with the possibility of numerous dimensions therefore his specific belief of a surface can be questioned. Because a reader in the modern era is able to use current science to possibly question Euclid, again the reader can question what is the significance of Euclid’s work? In reference to the idea of a surface, Euclid’s significance to readers today is in a non mathematical sense. His criteria for a surface might be one that lacks some validity with modern science theories, but the statement about surfaces can be applied and be relevant to the reader in another fashion. The surface described in Elements is one that possess length and breadth. If one ignores the literal math use, a reader can see that Euclid can also be applied to how one interprets the world. Euclid does not mention dimensions within his surface so a surface could be leading in and out of umpteen dimensions. The idea of dimensions can be used when reading complex works. A reader often seeks the literal intentions of a work and then looks for a deeper meaning. In the work

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