FOM: Algebraic justification

John Baldwin jbaldwin at
Tue May 23 09:40:32 EDT 2000

How were algebraic manipulations justified (say by 16th century
algebraists) before the formalization of `Tarski's high school identities'
in the late 19th century by Boole, Peano etc. ?

Specifically, I am wondering if the distributive law was explicitly

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