First edition of the most important rebuttal of Newton's claim of priority for the invention of calculus, with the scarce engraved portrait of Leibniz.
Very good plus.
COMMERCIUM PHILOSOPHICUM ET MATHEMATICUM
"There can be no doubt as to the superiority of [Leibniz's] notation to Newton's fluxional one." – Henry Sotheran and Heinrich Zeitlinger
In a seismic case of convergent evolution, calculus was invented twice at around the same time: once by German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and once by Sir Isaac Newton. The issue of who invented it first threw the 18th-century mathematical world into an uproar; Newton's followers hurled accusations of plagiarism, and Leibniz responded in kind. Newton's colleagues and the Royal Society quickly leapt to his defense. The "somewhat arrogant in attitude" Leibniz was decidedly less socially fortified than his intellectual opponent (Kandaswamy). But one man stood against the turning tides of popular mathematical opinion: Leibniz's student, Jean Bernoulli.
Bernoulli published COMMERCIUM PHILOSOPHICUM ET MATHEMATICUM, a collection of letters between himself and Leibniz, as a rebuttal to a report released by the Royal Society giving Newton's claim priority. "The only serious claim published in Leibniz's favor," it represents "the superiority of [Leibniz's] notation" (Sotheran and Zeitlinger). But Leibniz did not live to see his work defended: it was published posthumously, about 30 years after his death.
Ultimately, there was no one clear winner of the clash; modern mathematician Ivor Grattan-Guinness notes that the methods of the two men were "profoundly different," and (perhaps jokingly) suggests Newton's "alchemical activities going to his brain" as one of the reason's for Newton's aggression in the issue. The provenance of this copy shows that the dustup was of interest even after the debate was "settled": it was once owned by late 18th-century mathematician and librarian Daniel Huber. It remains a potent reminder of the excitement around mathematical and scientific innovations in the European Enlightenment.
Read more: Henry Sotheran and Heinrich Zeitlinger, Bibliotheca Chemico-Mathematica, item 10700; Anand Kandaswamy, The Newton/Leibniz Conflict in Context; Ivor Grattan-Guinness, The Norton History of the Mathematical Sciences, pages 236 and 247.
Lausannæ & Genevæ [Lausanne & Geneva]: Marci-Michaelis Bousquet & Socior, 1745. Two quarto volumes, 9.25'' x 7''. Original half-calf bindings with marbled boards, red goatskin spine labels, raised bands. Marbled edges. Marbled endpapers. Title pages printed in red and black, each with black-and-white engraved device. Engraved frontispiece by Ficquet to volume I; volume I with 15 folding plates of mathematical diagrams, volume II with eight folding plates of mathematical diagrams, both volumes with several ornamental headpieces and initials. , xxviii, 484; , 492 pages, each volume collated complete. Bookplate of French philosopher Désiré Roustan to front pastedowns. Early ownership stamp of the Public Library of Basel to verso of title pages. Early ownership stamp "DH" to verso of title pages; volume I with ownership inscription to first blank of Daniel Huber, Swiss mathematician, dated 1792. Ownership inscription to first blanks, dated 1956. With some edgewear, light scuffing to boards and spines; slight cracking to joints. Occasional toning to leaves and plates. Shows nicely.
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