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Test11 Essay

1762 words - 8 pages

Pythagoras is truly a man unlike any other throughout history. Per-
haps his greatest achievements are within the realm of mathematics; with
his greatest known theory being the Pythagorean Theorem. His theory is so
well..known that even today it peaks the interests of many mathematicians,
with more than 400 proofs being spawned o of his original theorem. Though
his theorem is common knowledge in this modern age, his life still remains a
mystery to most, similar to most pre-Socratic philosophers. What little we
do know is often shrouded in rumors and con
icting reports. Despite this, it
is clearly evident that his contributions to mathematics were substantial.
1
From Charlene Douglass' article, we learn that Pythagoras was born in
approximately 569 BC in Samos Greece, Pythagoras grew up with his father,
Mnesarchus and his mother Pythais, and he is believed to have had two or
three brothers. His personal life is heavily debated, for some say that he had
a wife by the name of Theano, while others believe her to just be another one
of his students, and that he was neither married nor did he have any children.
Though Pythagoras focus was mainly in mathematics, he was also interested
in elds such as philosophy, astronomy, and music, and was in
uenced by the
likes of Pherekydes, Thales, and Anaximander. Pythagoras also studied for
several years in Egypt with priests in the temples there. It is widely believed
that many of the practices of the society that he created later in life had
origins in the beliefs and teachings of the priests he spent time with while in
Egypt. This included ideas such as codes of secrecy, purity, and the refusal
to eat beans or wear animal pelts. [2]
According the Douglass, around 518 BC, Pythagoras settled in Crotona
and founded a philosophical and religious school where many of his follow-
ers lived and worked. The Pythagoreans, as his followers were called, had
rules that they lived by, such as when they were allowed to speak, what they
2
could wear, and what they were allowed to eat. Pythagoras was the leader
of this society and his followers were called mathematikoi, and included both
men and woman alike. There was also an outer circle of followers who didnt
interact directly with Pythagoras, yet they also didnt live by rules as strict
as the mathematikoi. [2] The society that he created, while benecial at the
time, has over the years tainted his mathematical ndings to a point where
we must question whether or not he actually discovered the theorems that
many people believed he did. This was due to the fact that his society shared
ideas and intellectual discoveries among the group members, and individual
credit for each theory was not given out at the time. Because of this fact, it
is dicult to determine whether the theories attributed to Pythagoras were
actually his, or rather an eort from the group that he created.
While the students of Pythagoras would eventually write down the theo-
ries, teachings, and...

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