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The Oxford Handbook of Generality in Mathematics and the Sciences

ISBN: 978-0-19-877726-7
GTIN: 9780198777267
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Generality is a key value in scientific discourses and practices. Throughout history, it has received a variety of meanings and of uses. This collection of original essays aims to inquire into this diversity. Through case studies taken from the history of mathematics, physics and the life sciences, the book provides evidence of different ways of understanding the general in various contexts. It aims at showing how collectives have valued generality and how they have worked with specific types of "general" entities, procedures, and arguments. The books connects history and philosophy of mathematics and the sciences at the intersection of two of the most fruitful contemporary lines of research: historical epistemology, in which values (e.g. "objectivity", "accuracy") are studied from a historical viewpoint; and the philosophy of scientific practice, in which conceptual developments are seen as embedded in networks of social, instrumental, and textual practices. Each chapter provides a self-contained case-study, with a clear exposition of the scientific content at stake. The collection covers a wide range of scientific domains - with an emphasis on mathematics - and historical periods. It thus allows a comparative perspective which suggests a non-linear pattern for a history of generality. The introductory chapter spells out the key issues and points to the connections between the chapters.The accessibility of the essays is such that not only the specialist, but anyone engaged in the history of science or one of the books historical key figures will benefit from them. Its ideal audience will be composed of historians of science with epistemological interests, and epistemologists wishing to engage with historical matters.
Generality is a key value in scientific discourses and practices. Throughout history, it has received a variety of meanings and of uses. This collection of original essays aims to inquire into this diversity. Through case studies taken from the history of mathematics, physics and the life sciences, the book provides evidence of different ways of understanding the general in various contexts. It aims at showing how collectives have valued generality and how they have worked with specific types of "general" entities, procedures, and arguments. The books connects history and philosophy of mathematics and the sciences at the intersection of two of the most fruitful contemporary lines of research: historical epistemology, in which values (e.g. "objectivity", "accuracy") are studied from a historical viewpoint; and the philosophy of scientific practice, in which conceptual developments are seen as embedded in networks of social, instrumental, and textual practices. Each chapter provides a self-contained case-study, with a clear exposition of the scientific content at stake. The collection covers a wide range of scientific domains - with an emphasis on mathematics - and historical periods. It thus allows a comparative perspective which suggests a non-linear pattern for a history of generality. The introductory chapter spells out the key issues and points to the connections between the chapters.The accessibility of the essays is such that not only the specialist, but anyone engaged in the history of science or one of the books historical key figures will benefit from them. Its ideal audience will be composed of historians of science with epistemological interests, and epistemologists wishing to engage with historical matters.
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AutorChemla, Karine (Hrsg.) / Chorlay, Renaud (Hrsg.) / Rabouin, David (Hrsg.)
VerlagOxford Academic
EinbandFester Einband
Erscheinungsjahr2016
Seitenangabe528 S.
AusgabekennzeichenEnglisch
Abbildungen37
MasseH24.7 cm x B19.1 cm x D3.6 cm 1'084 g
CoverlagOUP Oxford (Imprint/Brand)
ReiheOxford Handbooks
Gewicht1084
ISBN978-0-19-877726-7

Über den Autor Karine (Hrsg.) Chemla

Karine Chemla studied mathematics at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Jeunes Filles (1976-1982) and the history of mathematics at the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences (Beijing, China, 1981). She is a Senior Researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), in the laboratory SPHERE (CNRS & Université de Paris), and from 2011 to 2016, Chemla was Principal Investigator of the ERC Advanced Research Grant "Mathematical Sciences in the Ancient Worlds," with co-directors A. Keller and C. Proust (SAW).Agathe Keller is Senior Researcher with the CNRS and Member of the SPHERE lab in Paris. She works on medieval Sanskrit mathematical commentaries (5th-12th centuries) and on the historiography of mathematics in and on India from the 19th century until today. She has published Expounding the mathematical Seed, Bhaskara's commentary on the mathematical chapter of the Aryabhatiya(Birkhaüser, 2006).  Christine Proust is Senior Researcher Emerita at the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (Paris). She works on the history of mathematics in the Ancient Near East, more specifically on mathematical cuneiform texts from different periods, including the end of the third millennium BCE, the Old Babylonian period (early second millennium), and Late Babylonian periods (last centuries of the first millennium BCE).

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