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Single Idea 13165

[catalogued under 14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / g. Causal explanations]

Full Idea

Geometry does not ask 'why?' ..When from the exterior angle equalling two opposite interior angles it is shown that the interior angles make two right angles, this is not a causal demonstration. With no exterior angle they still equal two right angles.

Gist of Idea

Geometrical proofs do not show causes, as when we prove a triangle contains two right angles


Proclus (Commentary on Euclid's 'Elements' [c.452], p.161-2), quoted by Paolo Mancosu - Explanation in Mathematics 5

Book Reference

'Stanford Online Encyclopaedia of Philosophy', ed/tr. Stanford University [], p.12

A Reaction

A very nice example. It is hard to imagine how one might demonstrate the cause of the angles making two right angles. If you walk, turn left x, then turn left y, then turn left z, and x+y+z=180, you end up going in the original direction.