Antiphon was a Greek orator and statesman who took up rhetoric as a profession. He was a Sophist and a contemporary of Socrates. There is some dispute about whether there was one of two philosophers of this name.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- The problem seems to revolve round whether there was one Sophist philosopher named Antiphon who lived around this time or whether there are two, or as some experts claim, three distinct Antiphons.
- In what follows we shall assume that at least the orator named Antiphon was the same person as the Sophist who made the mathematical advances.
- A number of speeches which were written by Antiphon have been preserved.
- Three of these speeches were real speeches made by Antiphon as the prosecutor in murder trials.
- Twelve speeches are specimen speeches written by Antiphon for use in teaching students the skills of prosecuting and defending clients in cases.
- Antiphon published a number of works on philosophy which have been lost except for a small number of fragments which have been discovered together with some quotations from the works in the writings of other authors.
- In this work Antiphon is defending the same philosophical ideas which Zeno of Elea supported with his paradoxes.
- Finally while discussing which works were written by Antiphon it is worth remarking that some historians reject the idea that Antiphon wrote the two other works attributed to him The Statesman and On Interpretation of Dreams.
- Antiphon made an early and important contribution to mathematics when he made an attempt to square the circle.
- thus it is the geometer's business to refute the quadrature by means of segments, but it is not his business to refute that of Antiphon.
- However Simplicius failed to properly understand what Antiphon was doing.
- He thought that Antiphon was claiming to have squared the circle.
- Antiphon appears to have believed that complete coincidence could be achieved by his method ...
- This may mean that Antiphon regarded the circle as a polygon with a very large (or possibly infinite) number of sides.
- Antiphon was involved in an anti-democratic revolution which failed.
Born 480 BC, (possibly) Athens, Greece. Died 411 BC, Athens, Greece.
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Tags relevant for this person:
Analysis, Ancient Greek, Geometry, Origin Greece, Puzzles And Problems
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive