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# Geometry doesn't have to be white - on Descartes, Baldwin, and grids

Feb 20, '17 1:39 PM EST

Here's a mini-podcast on Descartes, whiteness, and grids.  Let's liberate geometry from empire.  Especially in honor of today's American holiday.

## 1 Featured Comment

wow! seriously, I've been wondering the same thing (about the grid) since undergrad (nearly 2 decades now).  where does Descartes come up with the grid? My explanation on the differences of geometry (and not sure how founded it was) - Cartesian Geometry had reference and Euclidian was relative...own a french and english version of "The Geometry of Rene Descartes" which includes the writings you reference. I've flipped through it multiple times looking for the x,y,z bit and just did again - nope.  Also, never thought to correlate the meditations to the geometry.  20 year question solved in 10 minutes, thanks.

quondam...

2007.04.09 23:29
3DH Gallery
The idea of this system was developed in 1637 in two writings by Descartes. In part two of his Discourse on Method Descartes introduces the new idea of specifying the position of a point or object on a surface, using two intersecting axes as measuring guides. In La Géométrie, he further explores the above-mentioned concepts. --wikipedia
So let me rephrase...
The xyz coordinate system is not necessarily the same thing as Cartesian rationalism.
Interestingly...
The work, La Géométrie, was responsible for introducing the Cartesian coordinate system, which is a mathematical graph in which x is the horizontal line and y is the vertical line, and in which the positive numbers on the x line are on the right and the negative numbers on the left, and the positive numbers on the y line are on the top and the negative numbers are on the bottom, and specifically discussed the representation of points of a plane, via real numbers; and the representation of curves, via equations. --wikipedia
So the system was not so much a rational cage, rather a method to represent curves?!

also in 9 April

what page?

Featured Comment
v.mitchmcewen

Don't trust the wikipedia. Read the actual Géométrie. I wish I could recommend a good English translation, but they all suck. The French is surprisingly fresh and readable, but admittedly I have only read thoroughly a few chapters and mostly studied the pictures (joke- they are very much not pictures in the Robin Evans sense). The Ethics of Geometey by Lachterman is great.

v.mitchmcewen

The surface is a cone, and the lines for x y and z don't even necessarily have to meet at 90 degrees. The main work of Géométrie is to use algebra on the problem, and 90 degrees keeps the algebra manageable for someone working with a pencil and paper.

Here's a useful summary of Descartes math (mostly from Geometrie)

And a  good summary of the diagrams in French here - http://www.debart.fr/pdf_dp/geometrie_descartes.pdf

thank you, have lots of reading to do.

Dangermouse

i love that modern geometry is based on a french guy staring at a fly on the ceiling while tripping on ergot spoiled grain

CINEARCHITECTURE's comment has been hidden
CINEARCHITECTURE

I have since 25 Years studied how female architects could express themself in for ex geometry in architecture.

But where is Vitruvian Woman Most of my study is based on Le Corbusiers Le Modulor

Welcome to contact me if You interested in this issue  !

Agneta Eriksson Hilden  arkitekt SAR MSA artist developer

info@cinearchitecture.com

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