Could math have possibly developed without the cartesian coordinate system? Or is this a necessary and therefore inevitable construct that would must be discovered "sooner or later"? - andy c. nguyen
Well, the first thing to say is that mathematics did develop for some time without the Cartesian co-ordinate system. And there are plenty of branches of mathematics where it isn't terribly important, for example, abstract algebra. It's also worth saying that there are lots of other co-ordinate systems, for example, polar co-ordinates. What is true is that Cartesian co-ordinates brought two powerful branches of mathematics, geometry and analysis, into a close relationship they had not previously enjoyed. I don't see any reason such a relationship would have had to be discovered at some point, but it is an extremely natural one.