Davide Crippa

Affiliation: 

Université Paris Diderot 5

Redefining geometrical exactness in pre-axiomatic contexts: on the distinction between geometrical and mechanical curves

In this paper, I would like to tackle the following broad question: “by which means, available within an historically given pre-axiomatic mathematical practice, mathematicians could succeed in establishing the subject matter of their theories?” by exploring a well-defined problem in the history of mathematics, namely the constitution of the fundamental boundary between geometrical and mechanical curves brought to the fore in Descartes' Géométrie (1637).