Arch Hist Exact Sci 2017;71(5):409-481. Epub 2017 Jul 20.
Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, Andrew Wiles Building, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG UK.
In the early years of the twentieth century, the so-called 'postulate analysis'-the study of systems of axioms for mathematical objects for their own sake-was regarded by some as a vital part of the efforts to understand those objects. I consider the place of postulate analysis within early twentieth-century mathematics by focusing on the example of a group: I outline the axiomatic studies to which groups were subjected at this time and consider the changing attitudes towards such investigations. Read More