Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Greeks   posted by Razib @ 3/18/2007 09:04:00 PM

Here's a question: what "invention" of the Greeks was the most significant? This is a subjective question as I'm not going to specify criteria to constrain you, I'd like get some nominations is all. And I'll offer mine: the mathematical proof. I think one can make a case that the Greeks basically invented formal systematic thinking.*

* I stipulate both formal & systematic because it seems that ad hoc formalisms (e.g., Babylonian mathematics) existed prior to the Classical Greeks, and certainly philosophical systems emerged in other civilizations (e.g., Indian philosophy). But, it seems that the prior formalisms weren't philosophical (i.e., their ends were often engineering or astrological), nor was the philosophy truly formal (i.e., their ends were often religious or ethical and framed in culturally conditioned verbal narratives).