IBN al-Haytham’s revision of the Euclidean foundations of mathematics

Ahmad Ighbariah*, Roy Wagner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article studies Ibn al-Haytham’s treatment of the common notions from Euclid’s Elements (usually referred to today as the axioms). We argue that Ibn al-Haytham initiated a new approach with regard to these foundational statements, rejecting their qualification as innate, self-evident, or primary. We suggest that Ibn al-Haytham’s engagement with experimental science, especially optics, led him to revise the framing of Euclidean common notions in a way that would fit his experimental approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-86
Number of pages25
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018


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