Volume 11, 2011
Jacob Klein on the Dispute Between Plato and Aristotle Regarding Number
By examining Klein’s discussion of the difference between Plato and Aristotle regarding the ontology of number, this article aims to spells out the significance
of that debate both in itself and for the development of the later mathematical sciences. This is accomplished by explicating and expanding Klein’s account of the differences that exist in the understanding of number presented by these two thinkers. It is ultimately argued that Klein’s analysis can be used to show that the transition from the ancient to the modern number concept has some roots in this disagreement between Plato and Aristotle regarding number. This, in turn, sets up that dispute as an essential part of the background to the more general break between ancient and modern conceptuality, the uncovering of which
is Klein’s main concern.