Newton composed several mathematical tracts which remained in manuscript form for decades. He chose to print some of his mathematical tracts in their entirety only after 1704. In this paper 1 will give information on the dissemination of Newton's mathematical manuscripts before the eighteenth-century printing stage. I will not consider another important vehicle of dissemination of Newton's mathematical discoveries, namely his correspondence with other mathematicians or with intermediaries such as Collins and Oldenburg. In a first stage, Newton's mathematical manuscripts were rendered available to a group of acolytes, who copied and transmitted them, sometimes in mutilated form. The practice of scribal publication helped Newton to establish his mathematical reputation and to form around himself a group of followers. One can divide Newton's mathematical activity into two periods: an early analytical and modernist period in which he developed a Cartesian and Wallisian 'new analysis', followed by a mature synthetic period, beginning in the 1670s, in which he distanced himself from analysis in favour of geometry, from infinitesimals in favour of limits, from the analysis of the moderns in favour of the geometry of the ancients. Newton came to the conclusion that the 'new analysis' was not a mathematical language fit for publication. Newton, however, could not restrict himself to scribal publication of his mathematical manuscripts for too long. The priority dispute with Leibniz, the new status of Newton as undisputed master of British mathematicians and the changing canons of mathematical publication introduced by the funding of scientific academies favoured Newton's option for the printing of his mathematical manuscripts. However, when Newton decided to print his early analytical mathematical work, he tried to modify and present it to bring it in line with the values that characterise the methodological shift of the 1670s, values that he wished to promote among his followers.

Isaac Newton and the publication of his mathematical manuscripts / N. GUICCIARDINI CORSI SALVIATI. - In: STUDIES IN HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE. - ISSN 0039-3681. - 35A:3(2004), pp. 455-470.

Isaac Newton and the publication of his mathematical manuscripts

N. GUICCIARDINI CORSI SALVIATI
2004

Abstract

Newton composed several mathematical tracts which remained in manuscript form for decades. He chose to print some of his mathematical tracts in their entirety only after 1704. In this paper 1 will give information on the dissemination of Newton's mathematical manuscripts before the eighteenth-century printing stage. I will not consider another important vehicle of dissemination of Newton's mathematical discoveries, namely his correspondence with other mathematicians or with intermediaries such as Collins and Oldenburg. In a first stage, Newton's mathematical manuscripts were rendered available to a group of acolytes, who copied and transmitted them, sometimes in mutilated form. The practice of scribal publication helped Newton to establish his mathematical reputation and to form around himself a group of followers. One can divide Newton's mathematical activity into two periods: an early analytical and modernist period in which he developed a Cartesian and Wallisian 'new analysis', followed by a mature synthetic period, beginning in the 1670s, in which he distanced himself from analysis in favour of geometry, from infinitesimals in favour of limits, from the analysis of the moderns in favour of the geometry of the ancients. Newton came to the conclusion that the 'new analysis' was not a mathematical language fit for publication. Newton, however, could not restrict himself to scribal publication of his mathematical manuscripts for too long. The priority dispute with Leibniz, the new status of Newton as undisputed master of British mathematicians and the changing canons of mathematical publication introduced by the funding of scientific academies favoured Newton's option for the printing of his mathematical manuscripts. However, when Newton decided to print his early analytical mathematical work, he tried to modify and present it to bring it in line with the values that characterise the methodological shift of the 1670s, values that he wished to promote among his followers.
Isaac Newton; manuscripts; scribal publication; analysis; synthesis
Settore M-STO/05 - Storia della Scienza e delle Tecniche
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/658081
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