Greek Mathematics

εἶναι δι᾿ αὑτὸ καὶ δοκεῖν ἀνάγκη. οὐ γὰρ πρὸς τὸν ἔξω λόγον ἡ ἀπόδειξις, ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὸν ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ, ἐπεὶ οὐδὲ συλλογισμός. ἀεὶ γὰρ ἔστιν ἐνστῆναι πρὸς τὸν ἔξω λόγον, ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὸν ἔσω λόγον οὐκ ἀεί. ὅσα μὲν οὖν δεικτὰ ὄντα λαμβάνει αὐτὸς μὴ δείξας, ταῦτ᾿, ἐὰν μὲν δοκοῦντα λαμβάνῃ τῷ μανθάνοντι, ὑποτίθεται, καὶ ἔστιν οὐχ ἁπλῶς ὑπόθεσις ἀλλὰ πρὸς ἐκεῖνον μόνον· ἂν δὲ ἢ μηδεμιᾶς ἐνούσης δόξης ἢ καὶ ἐναντίας ἐνούσης λαμβάνῃ τὸ αὐτὸ αἰτεῖται. καὶ τούτῳ διαφέρει ὑπόθεσις καὶ αἴτημα· ἔστι γὰρ αἴτημα τὸ ὑπεναντίον τοῦ μανθάνοντος τῇ δόξῃ, [ἢ] ὃ ἄν τις ἀποδεικτὸν ὂν λαμβάνῃ καὶ χρῆται μὴ δείξας.

Οἱ μὲν οὖν ὅροι οὔκ εἰσιν ὑποθέσεις (οὐδὲ γὰρ εἶναι ἢ μὴ λέγονται), ἀλλ᾿ ἐν ταῖς προτάσεσιν αἱ ὑποθέσεις. τοὺς δ᾿ ὅρους μόνον ξυνίεσθαι δεῖ· τοῦτο δ᾿ οὐχ ὑπόθεσις, εἰ μὴ καὶ τὸ ἀκούειν ὑπόθεσίν τις εἶναι φήσει. ἀλλ᾿ ὅσων ὄντων τῷ ἐκεῖνα εἶναι γίνεται τὸ συμπέρασμα. οὐδ᾿ ὁ γεωμέτρης ψευδῆ ὑποτίθεται, ὥσπερ τινὲς ἔφασαν, λέγοντες ὡς οὐ δεῖ τῷ ψεύδει χρῆσθαι, τὸν δὲ γεωμέτρην ψεύδεσθαι λέγοντα ποδιαίαν τὴν οὐ ποδιαίαν ἢ εὐθεῖαν τὴν γεγραμμένην οὐκ εὐθεῖαν οὖσαν. ὁ δὲ γεωμέτρης οὐδὲν συμπεραίνεται τῷ τήνδε εἶναι γραμμήν, ἣν αὐτὸς ἔφθεγκται, ἀλλὰ τὰ διὰ τούτων δηλούμενα. ἔτι τὸ αἴτημα καὶ ὑπόθεσις πᾶσα ἢ ὡς ὅλον ἢ ὡς ἐν μέρει, οἱ δ᾿ ὅροι οὐδέτερον τούτων.


Greek Mathematics

hypothesis nor postulate. For demonstration is a matter not of external discourse but of meditation within the soul, since syllogism is such a matter. And objection can always be raised to external discourse but not to inward meditation. That which is capable of proof but assumed by the teacher without proof is, if the pupil believes and accepts it, hypothesis, though it is not hypothesis absolutely but only in relation to the pupil; if the pupil has no opinion on it or holds a contrary opinion, the same assumption is a postulate. In this lies the distinction between hypothesis and postulate; for a postulate is contrary to the pupil’s opinion, demonstrable, but assumed and used without demonstration.

The definitions are not hypotheses (for they do not assert either existence or non-existence), but it is in the premisses of a science that hypotheses lie. Definitions need only to be understood; and this is not hypothesis, unless it be contended that the pupil’s hearing is also a hypothesis. But hypotheses lay down facts on whose existence depends the existence of the fact inferred. Nor are the geometer’s hypotheses false, as some have maintained, urging that falsehood must not be used, and that the geometer is speaking falsely in saying that the line which he draws is a foot long or straight when it is neither a foot long nor straight. The geometer draws no conclusion from the existence of the particular line of which he speaks, but from what his diagrams represent. Furthermore, all hypotheses and postulates are either universal or particular, but a definition is neither.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-mathematical_works.1939