Talk:Euclid's Elements

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 Definition Mathematical and geometric treatise consisting of 13 books written by the Greek mathematician Euclid in Alexandria circa 300 BC. [d] [e]
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Is there a standard convention regarding whether the book is referred to as "Elements" or as "the Elements"? For instance, would you say, "the first axiomitization of a mathematical theory appeared in Elements", or, "the first axiomitization of a mathematical theory appeared in the Elements"? I suppose you could always call it Euclid's Elements to avoid this distinction, but that seems cumbersome.Barry R. Smith 11:02, 6 April 2008 (CDT)

I don't think you'd ever say "in Elements". That leaves a choice between "in the Elements" & "in The Elements". Peter Jackson 17:06, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
My issue is that I don't see people write "Euclid's the Elements"Barry R. Smith 20:24, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that's another form that's never used. So it would be a bit less illogical to say "the Elements" than "the Elements". There are probably other examples of books (& indeed musical & artistic works) that have either definite article or author's name but not both. Peter Jackson 12:16, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Eg one talks of "Bach's B Minor Mass" or "the B Minor Mass". Peter Jackson 15:09, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
The Elements of Euclid or The Elements or Euclid, note that the "The" is part of the title.
Never "the Elements" since in this case we would be talking about the book rather than the title of the book, The Elements. It takes the same space and sounds the same, but is more precise in the latter case. --Miguel Adérito Trigueira 07:28, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
But, as Barry pointed out above, you don't say "Euclid's the Elements", you say "Euclid's Elements". I don't think there's an entirely logical way of doing things that conforms to common usage. Peter Jackson 11:19, 12 November 2008 (UTC)
I concur with your first statement, but not with your second. One says "Euclid's Elements" or "The Elements of Euclid" or "Euclid's The Elements" or "Euclid" or "Elements" but NEVER "the Elements" NOR "the Elements". (Please note the capitalization)
"the Elements" (bad) vs
"the Elements" (bad) vs
"The Elements" (good)
If I am not mistaken it is entirely logical to use the actual title "The" as opposed to the stand-in "the". When writing "the Elements" the word "the" in this case IS NOT part of the title of the work. When writing "The Elements" the "The" IS part of the title. Since precision is acquired through the use of the Shift key, the latter is preferred over the former.
I suppose one could contrive a scenario where one would prefer the stand-in, but I cannot think of one that cannot be improved by instead using the fuller title. (The closest I came up with was this dialog. Q:"I have two books in my hand The Elements and The Republic. Which would you prefer to find the Pythagorean Theorem?" A:"Please may I use the Elements.") --Miguel Adérito Trigueira 08:09, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I think your English usage is wrong. I don't think anyone ever says "Euclid's The Elements". Contrariwise, people often do say "the Elements". Peter Jackson 11:52, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Yes, see here for an example of the use "Euclid's Elements".--Paul Wormer 12:44, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Dear Peter and Paul. Kindly read my statements above. --Miguel Adérito Trigueira 14:17, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Miguel, you mention that it's possible to say ""Euclid's The Elements". Peter disagrees. I also think that such usage would, at the very least, be very uncommon. For instance, see Springer's Encyclopaedia of Mathematics, which mentions "the Elements" (with that capitalization) and "Euclid's Elements". Similarly, Stanford's Encyclopedia of Philosophy uses "the Elements" and "Euclid's Elements". In other words, they don't consider the article the to be part of the title. -- Jitse Niesen 15:41, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I believe a logical way of doing things was requested. --Miguel Adérito Trigueira 16:50, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately, language is often illogical. Peter Jackson 16:33, 14 November 2008 (UTC)