Drexel dragonThe Math ForumDonate to the Math Forum



Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by Drexel University or The Math Forum.


Math Forum » Discussions » Inactive » Historia-Matematica

Topic: [HM] Who started "Playfair's" postulate?
Replies: 15   Last Post: Oct 15, 2003 2:00 AM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
Jim Kiernan

Posts: 4
Registered: 12/3/04
[HM] Re: Playfair's axiom
Posted: Sep 1, 2003 4:26 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply


I believe that the original question dealt with who was the first
to posit the "parallel to a line through a point" form of Euclid's
postulate. Although some have claimed that Proclus hints at it in his
discussion of Euclid I.31, I don't believe it is that explicit.
Calinger claims that Playfair writes :

" Given a line l and a point P not on l, there exists
one and only one line m containing P and no points of l."

It is contained in section 11.1 of Elements of Geometry written in
1795.
I have a copy of Davies Legendre dated 1844 which gives the
following axiom on page 13 :

" 12. Through the same point, only one straight line
can be drawn which shall be parallel to a given
line."

Considering that Legendre published his Elements de Geometrie in
1794, is it possible that the first explicit modern statement is
his? Did he lose credit for a discovery once again?

Jim Kiernan
Brooklyn College






Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© Drexel University 1994-2014. All Rights Reserved.
The Math Forum is a research and educational enterprise of the Drexel University School of Education.