# Theorem

## Historical Background

The concept of a theorem was first used by the ancient Greeks. To derive new theorems, Greek mathematicians used logical deduction from premises they believed to be self-evident truths. Since theorems were a direct result of deductive reasoning, which yields unquestionably true conclusions, they believed their theorems were undoubtedly true. The early mathematician and philosopher Thales (640-546 B.C.) suggested many early theorems, and is typically credited with beginning the tradition of a rigorous, logical **proof** before the general acceptance of a theorem. The first major collection of mathematical theorems was developed by Euclid around 300 B.C. in a book called *The Elements*.

The absolute truth of theorems was readily accepted up until the eighteenth century. At this time mathematicians, such as Karl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), began to realize that all of the theorems suggested by Euclid could be derived by using a set of different premises, and that a consistent non-Euclidean structure of theorems could be derived from Euclidean premises. It then became obvious that the starting premises used to develop theorems were not self-evident truths. They were in fact, conclusions based on experience and observation, and not necessarily true. In **light** of this evidence, theorems are no longer thought of as absolutely true. They are only described as correct or incorrect based on the initial assumptions.

## Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: *Thallophyta* to *Toxicology*Theorem - Historical Background, Characteristics Of A Theorem