Gymnosophists etc.

mhcrxlc at mhcrxlc at
Tue May 7 18:07:26 UTC 1996

Lars Martin Fosse writes re Leibnitz-Newton:

>According to my encyclopedia, the two discovered infinitesimal calculations
>independently of each other. If more recent theories say otherwise, I would
>like to know about them.

Probably the issue as to whether there was communication between the two is
not very relevant to this list. What is relevant is that they were both
highly versed in very closely related systems of mathematical and
scientific knowledge. In other words they are in no way valid as examples
of totally independent simultaneous invention of knowledge.

If we had only the information that Newton in England and Leibnitz in
Europe both invented calculus in the seventeenth century, we might infer
the existence of influences between British and Continental cultures at
that time and we would be right to do so; for the invention of calculus was
a development from and on the basis of the pre-existing mathematical
knowledge which was largely a common heritage.

Lance Cousins

Email: mhcrxlc at

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