Home / Jacqueline Feke, Ptolemy’s Philosophy of Geography


Old Victoria College Building, 2nd floor, Room VC215, University of Toronto

Jacqueline Feke, Department of Philosophy, University of Waterloo

Claudius Ptolemy, the second-century mathematician, is remembered most of all for his contributions in astronomy, but just as influential was his Geography, a lengthy treatise, the majority of which consists of a catalogue of approximately eight thousand localities and their coordinates, which he intended to be drawn on a map of the known part of the world. With its inordinate focus on the production of an image—one that, in conveying the appearance of the globe, is not even mathematically consistent—the Geography appears to be an outlier in Ptolemy’s corpus. In this talk, I aim to illuminate the philosophy of Ptolemy’s geographical project, including its subject matter, objective, and relation to Ptolemy’s other mathematical pursuits.

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