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Al-Kindī's Commentary on Archimedes' ‘The Measurement of the Circle’*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 October 2008

Roshdi Rashed
Affiliation:
Centre d'Histoire des Sciences et des Philosophies Arabes et Médiévales, CNRS, 27 rue Damesme, 75013 Paris, France

Abstract

The author examines the relationship between mathematics and philosophy in the works of al-Kindī, and suggests that the real character of his contribution will become clear only when we restore to mathematics their proper role in his philosophy. The recently discovered treatise of al-Kindī on the approximation of π, of which the author gives the editio princeps here, throws important new light on al-Kindī's knowledge of mathematics, and on the history of the transmission of The Measurement of the Circle of Archimedes. The author shows that al-Kindī's commentary on the third proposition of the Measurement of the Circle was written before 857, at the same time if not before that of the Banū Mūsā, and that it was one of the sources of the Florence Versions, the Latin commentary on the same proposition.

Pour mieux comprendre le projet philosophique d'al-Kindī, l'auteur a été amené à s'interroger sur les rapports entre les mathématiques et la philosophie dans l'œuvre de celui-ci. Cette interrogation a exigé que soient examinés les écrits mathématiques d'al-Kindī. La découverte de l'epître de ce dernier sur l'approximation de π – jusqu'ici inconnue et qui a été rédigée avant 857 – permet non seulement d'engager cette interrogation, mais aussi de reprendre l'histoire de la transmission de La mesure du cercle d'Archimède. L'auteur montre qu'en même temps que Banū Mūsā, et peut-être avant, al-Kindī a donné un commentaire de la troisième proposition du texte d'Archimède, qui constitue l'une des sources du commentaire latin de cette dernière, connu sous le titre des Versions de Florence.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1993

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