Founding Acts and Major Turning-Points in Arab Mathematics
Classical mathematics is neither homogeneous nor all of one piece. Some chapters in its development go back as far as Greek mathematics. We have only to think, for example, of plane geometry, the geometry of cones or the geometry of spheres. Others are rooted in Arab mathematics, embracing the algebraic disciplines and work on geometrical transformations. Finally, yet other developments, such as infinitesimal calculus took place in Europe in the seventeenth century. What we can say without fear of contradiction, however, is that the distinctive characteristic of this classical mathematics is that it is ‘algebraic and analytical’. The question that remains is precisely when and how this distinctive characteristic saw the light of day, that is, how this algebraic-analytical reasoning arose and how it developed.