Proclus' account of explanatory demonstrations in mathematics and its context

Orna Harari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


I examine the question why in Proclus' view genetic processes provide demonstrative explanations, in light of the interpretation of Aristotle's theory of demonstration in late antiquity. I show that in this interpretation mathematics is not an explanatory science in the strict sense because its objects, being immaterial, do not admit causal explanation. Placing Proclus' account of demonstrative explanation in this context, I argue that this account is aimed at answering the question whether mathematical proofs provide causal explanation as opposed to grounds. I show further that Proclus can answer this question in the affirmative due to his realist view of mathematical objects and the priority he ascribes to causal relations over logical relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-164
Number of pages28
JournalArchiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008


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