In my lecture I will be advocating an approach to the history of mathematics inspired by the method followed by intellectual historians. In the first part, I will recall some of the desiderata for intellectual history proposed long ago by Quentin Skinner. I take Skinner’s rejection of what he called the “mythologies” of the history of ideas as a proposition that can still be inspirational for historians of mathematics. In the second part, which is devoted to Newton’s publication and authorial strategies, I will show how a kind of humanistic historicism inspired by the work of intellectual historians can be pursued in writing, in an historically informed way, about one of the great giants of early modern mathematics. In the third part, I will attempt to draw some conclusions. First, I will state that I do not wish to downgrade, or reject, internalistic approaches to the history of mathematics, which indeed have been, and will continue to be, of central importance. Second, I will make clear that my talk is not meant to be a defence of Skinner’s dense philosophical ideas on textual interpretation, which are inspired by Wittgenstein and Austin. My approach is much more philosophically naive, and should rather be taken as a methodological reflection on the craft of the history of mathematics, carried out by one of its practitioners.

Specious algebra is fit enough to find out, but entirely unfit to consign to writing and commit to posterity : Newton’s publication strategies as a mathematical author / N. Guicciardini. - In: SARTONIANA. - ISSN 1377-2155. - 25(2012), pp. 161-178.

Specious algebra is fit enough to find out, but entirely unfit to consign to writing and commit to posterity : Newton’s publication strategies as a mathematical author

N. Guicciardini
2012

Abstract

In my lecture I will be advocating an approach to the history of mathematics inspired by the method followed by intellectual historians. In the first part, I will recall some of the desiderata for intellectual history proposed long ago by Quentin Skinner. I take Skinner’s rejection of what he called the “mythologies” of the history of ideas as a proposition that can still be inspirational for historians of mathematics. In the second part, which is devoted to Newton’s publication and authorial strategies, I will show how a kind of humanistic historicism inspired by the work of intellectual historians can be pursued in writing, in an historically informed way, about one of the great giants of early modern mathematics. In the third part, I will attempt to draw some conclusions. First, I will state that I do not wish to downgrade, or reject, internalistic approaches to the history of mathematics, which indeed have been, and will continue to be, of central importance. Second, I will make clear that my talk is not meant to be a defence of Skinner’s dense philosophical ideas on textual interpretation, which are inspired by Wittgenstein and Austin. My approach is much more philosophically naive, and should rather be taken as a methodological reflection on the craft of the history of mathematics, carried out by one of its practitioners.
Newton; Quentin Skinner
Settore M-STO/05 - Storia della Scienza e delle Tecniche
SARTONIANA
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/615622
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