, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 467-476
Date: 11 Jan 2011

Mathematical and philosophical Newton

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Recently, two new volumes on Isaac Newton have fallen from the press: in Isaac Newton on Mathematical Certainty and Method Niccoló Guicciardini provides us with a new study of Newton’s mathematics and in Newton as Philosopher Andrew Janiak addresses Newton’s philosophy/metaphysics.

When it comes to understanding Newton’s mathematical work and its reception, Niccoló Guicciardini has proven to be an excellent guide. In this book, he studies Newton’s mathematical trajectory diachronically. He does so by focusing on a scantly explored and fruitful topic, namely Newton’s views on mathematical certainty and method. Correspondingly, Isaac Newton on Mathematical Certainty and Method is a study of Newton’s mathematical philosophy and methodology (xiii–xv). Guicciardini departs from the prevailing tendency in the literature on seventeenth-century mathematical methodology to concentrate on definitional issues (e.g., on the definitions of ‘fluxion,’ ‘infinitesimal,’ and ‘limit’). In the preface, he