Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Most Influential Work in Intellectual History

I found myself making the claim the other day that Euclid's Elements was the most influential work in intellectual history. It provided the deductive basis for mathematics that remains today. It is the first great example of a structured axiomatic theory which is the basis for most of the natural sciences. It inspired philosophers to see the world as ordered and capable of a certain sort of reasoned explanation. Its clean proofs and intricate theorems have inspired thinkers for centuries.

Am I right? What other books rival the influence of The Elements? What would you argue is the most influential work in intellectual history?