Videnskabshistorisk Selskab

Professor Niccolo Guicciardini,
Facoltą di Scienze Umanistiche. Universitą di Bergamo:

Newton's views on mathematical certainty and method

It is well known that Newton aimed at injecting certainty into natural Philosophy by deploying mathematical reasoning. The role of this program in Newton's philosophical agenda cannot be overestimated. Little research has been devoted, however, to Newton's views on mathematical certainty and method, views that are obviously relevant for his mathematized natural philosophy: for, if mathematics is to endow philosophy with certainty, it must be practiced according to criteria that guarantee the certainty of its methods.

Yet, the new algebraic methods, that Newton mastered so well in his mathematical practice, appeared to him, as well as to many of his contemporaries, far from rigorous. Several hitherto unexplained aspects of Newton's mathematical methods and practice of publication are related to such tensions between mathematical practice and philosophical agendas.

tirsdag, den 21. april 2009, kl. 17.00

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