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Author Pycior, Helena M. (Helena Mary), 1947-

Title Symbols, impossible numbers, and geometric entanglements : British algebra through the commentaries on Newton's Universal arithmetick / Helena M. Pycior.

Published Cambridge ; New York, N.Y. : Cambridge University Press, 1997.


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bund  512.00941 PYCI {Bund10 20110701}    AVAILABLE
Physical description xi, 328 p. ; 24 cm.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents 1. Setting the Scene: The Foundations of Early Modern Algebra -- 2. William Oughtred and Thomas Harriot: "Inciting, Assisting, and Instructing Others" in the Analytic Art -- 3. John Collins's Campaign for a Current English Algebra Textbook: The 1660s and 1670s -- 4. John Pell's English Edition of Rahn's Algebra and John Kersey's Algebra -- 5. The Arithmetic Formulation of Algebra in John Wallis's Treatise of Algebra -- 6. English Mathematical Thinkers Take Sides on Early Modern Algebra: Thomas Hobbes and Isaac Barrow against John Wallis -- 7. The Mixed Mathematical Legacy of Newton's Universal Arithmetick -- 8. George Berkeley at the Intersection of Algebra and Philosophy -- 9. The Scottish Response to Newtonian Algebra -- 10. Algebra "Considered As the Logical Institutes of the Mathematician": Nicholas Saunderson's Elements of Algebra.
Summary Symbols, Impossible Numbers, and Geometric Entanglements is the first history of the development and reception of algebra in early modern England and Scotland. Not primarily a technical history, this book analyzes the struggles of a dozen British thinkers to come to terms with early modern algebra, its symbolical style, and negative and imaginary numbers. Professor Pycior uncovers these thinkers as a "testgroup" for the symbolic reasoning that would radically change not only mathematics but also logic, philosophy, and language studies. The book furthermore shows how pedagogical and religious concerns shaped the British debate over the relative merits of algebra and geometry.
The first book to position algebra firmly in the Scientific Revolution and pursue Newton the algebraist, it highlights Newton's role in completing the evolution of algebra from an esoteric subject into a major focus of British mathematics. Other thinkers covered include Oughtred, Harriot, Wallis, Hobbes, Barrow, Berkeley, and MacLaurin.
Subject Algebra -- Great Britain -- History -- 17th century.
Algebra -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century.
Newton, Isaac, Sir, 1642-1727. Arithmetica universalis
ISBN 0521481244