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C. Boyer (1939)
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Arne Schirrmacher (2013)
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D. Struik (1949)
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H. Eves (1953)
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V. Risi (2007)
Geometry and Monadology
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Aperçu historique sur l'origine et le développement des méthodes en géométrie, particulièrement de celles qui se rapportent à la géométrie moderne, suivi d'un mémoire de géométrie sur deux principes généraux de la science, la dualité et l'homographie
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[The theme of the meeting on the historiography of mathematics in the 19th and 20th centuries invited participants to reflect on “the cultural contexts in which the history of mathematics was written”. It noted the change in the field of history of mathematics, away from an initial concentration on “major internal, universal developments of certain sub-disciplines of mathematics” towards “a focus on contexts of knowledge production involving individuals, local practices, problems, communities, and networks”. The expressed hope was that by “analysing the often hidden agendas of former historians of mathematics we [will be] led to reflect upon our own professional objectives as well as on the methods and tools we employ today”. In that spirit this paper offers some reflections on the principal texts written in English on the history of modern mathematics in the 1950s and 1960s, concentrating on the ones that have had a lasting influence on the field, and draws out some thoughts about how place and audience have exercised, and continue to exercise, a marked effect on the growth and shape of the subject. The six authors I have considered, all of them American, wrote, in the main, for students of mathematics, and their approaches were adapted to the prevailing mathematical syllabus. Only one, Carl BoyerBoyer, Carl B. (1906–1976), made a serious effort to keep open links with contemporary history of science, and this has doubtless contributed to the present uneasy relations between history of mathematics and history of science. New initiatives are needed in the history of mathematics, such as the current attention to mathematical practice might supply, along with a broader perspective, and a renewed attention to methodology (attending, for example, to communications networks and corpuses of texts).]
Published: Dec 9, 2016
Keywords: Carl B. Boyer; Julian Lowell Coolidge; Morris Kline; Historiography of geometry
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