Conflicts Between Generalization, Rigor, and Intuition: Number Concepts Underlying the Development of Analysis in 17th-19th Century France and Germany / Edition 1

Conflicts Between Generalization, Rigor, and Intuition: Number Concepts Underlying the Development of Analysis in 17th-19th Century France and Germany / Edition 1

by Gert Schubring
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0387228365

ISBN-13: 9780387228365

Pub. Date: 06/14/2005

Publisher: Springer New York

Conflicts Between Generalization, Rigor, and Intuition undertakes a historical analysis of the development of two mathematical concepts -negative numbers and infinitely small quantities, mainly in France and Germany, but also in Britain, and the different paths taken there.

This book not only discusses the history of the two concepts, but it also introduces a

Overview

Conflicts Between Generalization, Rigor, and Intuition undertakes a historical analysis of the development of two mathematical concepts -negative numbers and infinitely small quantities, mainly in France and Germany, but also in Britain, and the different paths taken there.

This book not only discusses the history of the two concepts, but it also introduces a wealth of new knowledge and insights regarding their interrelation as necessary foundations for the emergence of the 19th century concept of analysis. The historical investigation unravels several processes underlying and motivating conceptual change: generalization (in particular, algebraization as an agent for generalizing) and a continued effort of intuitive accessibility which often conflicted with likewise desired rigor. The study focuses on the 18th and the 19th centuries, with a detailed analysis of Lazare Carnot's and A. L. Cauchy's foundational ideas.

By researching the development of the concept of negative and infinitely small numbers, the book provides a productive unity to a large number of historical sources. This approach permits a nuanced analysis of the meaning of mathematical ideas as conceived of by 18th and 19th century scientists, while illustrating the authors' actions within the context of their respective cultural and scientific communities. The result is a highly readable study of conceptual history and a new model for the cultural history of mathematics.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780387228365
Publisher:
Springer New York
Publication date:
06/14/2005
Series:
Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences Series
Edition description:
2005
Pages:
678
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.06(d)

Table of Contents

* Question and Method
• Paths Towards Algebraization – Development until the 18th Century. The Number Field
• The development of negative numbers
• Paths towards algebraization—The field of limits: The development of infinitely small quantities
• Culmination of Algebraization and retour du refoulé
• Le Retour du Refoulé: From the Perspective of Mathematical Concepts
• Cauchy’s Compromise Concept
• Development of Pure Mathematics in Prussia/Germany
• Conflicts Between Confinement to Geometry and Algebraization in France
• Summary and Outlook
• References
• Appendix

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