Leibniz and Newton calculus controversy

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Leibniz and Newton calculus controversy
The calculus controversy was an argument between seventeenth-century mathematicians Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz (begun or fomented in part by their disciples and associates – see Development of the quarrel below) over who had first invented calculus. Newton claimed to have begun working on a form of the calculus (which he called "the method of fluxions and fluents") in 1666, but did not publish it except as a minor annotation in the back of one of his publications decades later. (A relevant Newton manuscript of October 1666 is now published among his mathematical papers.[1] .) Gottfried Leibniz began working on his variant of the calculus in 1674, and in 1684 published his first paper employing it. L'Hopital published a text on Leibniz's calculus in 1696 (in which he expressed recognition about Newton's 'Principia' of 1687, that Newton's work was 'nearly all about this calculus'.[2] ) Meanwhile, Newton, though he explained his (geometrical) form of calculus in Section I of Book I of the 'Principia' of 1687,[3] did not explain his eventual fluxional notation for the calculus in print until 1693 (in part) and 1704 (in full). While visiting London in 1676, Leibniz was shown at least one unpublished manuscript by Newton, raising the question as to whether or not Leibniz's work was actually based upon Newton's idea. It is a question that had been the cause of a major intellectual controversy over who first discovered calculus, one that began simmering in 1699 and broke out in full force in 1711.

The quarrel
The last years of Leibniz's life, 1709–1716, were embittered by a long controversy with John Keill, Newton, and others, over whether Leibniz had discovered calculus independently of Newton, or whether he had merely invented another notation for ideas that were fundamentally Newton's. Newton manipulated the quarrel. The most remarkable aspect of this barren struggle was that no participant doubted for a moment that Newton had already developed his method of fluxions when Leibniz began working on the differential calculus. Yet there was seemingly no proof beyond Newton's word. He had published a calculation of a tangent with the note: "This is only a special case of a general method whereby I can calculate curves and determine maxima, minima, and centers of gravity." How this was done he explained to a pupil a full twenty years later, when Leibniz's articles were already well-read. Newton's manuscripts came to light only after his death. The infinitesimal calculus can be expressed either in the notation of fluxions or in that of differentials, or, as noted above, it was also expressed by Newton in geometrical form, as in the 'Principia' of 1687. Newton employed fluxions as early as 1666, but did not publish an account of his notation until 1693. The earliest use of differentials in Leibniz's notebooks may be traced to 1675. He employed this notation in a 1677 letter to Newton. The differential notation also appeared in Leibniz's memoir of 1684. The claim that Leibniz invented the calculus independently of Newton rests on the fact that Leibniz 1. Published a description of his method some years before Newton printed anything on fluxions; 2. Always alluded to the discovery as being his own invention. Moreover, this statement went unchallenged some years; 3. Rightly enjoys the strong presumption that he acted in good faith; 4. Demonstrates in his private papers his development of the ideas of calculus in a manner independent of the path taken by Newton According to Leibniz's detractors, to rebut this case it is necessary to show that he (I) saw some of Newton's papers on the subject in or before 1675 or at least 1677, and (II) obtained the fundamental ideas of the calculus from those papers. They see the fact that Leibniz's claim went unchallenged for some years as immaterial. No attempt was made to rebut #4, which was not known at the time, but which provides very strong evidence that Leibniz came to the calculus independently from Newton. For instance Leibniz came first to integration, which he saw as a generalization of the summation of infinite series, whereas Newton began from derivatives. However, to

while going through Leibniz's manuscripts. the manuscript. In 1696. but Fatio was not a person of consequence. the existence of which had been previously unsuspected. It is known that a copy of Newton's manuscript had been sent to Tschirnhaus in May 1675. he picked out this manuscript as the one which had probably somehow fallen into Leibniz's hands. found extracts from Newton's De Analysi per Equationes Numero Terminorum Infinitas (published in 1704 as part of the De Quadratura Curvarum but also previously circulated among mathematicians starting with Newton giving a copy to Isaac Barrow in 1669 and Barrow sending it to John Collins[4] ) in Leibniz's handwriting. Leibniz admitted in a letter to Abbot Antonio Conti. C. a time when he and Leibniz were collaborating. a review implying that Newton had borrowed the idea of the fluxional calculus from Leibniz. Since Newton's work at issue did employ the fluxional notation. It is also possible that they may have been made in 1676.Leibniz and Newton calculus controversy view the development of calculus as entirely independent between the work of Newton and Leibniz misses the point that both had some knowledge of the methods of the other. all admit that there was no justification or authority for the statements made therein. Whether Leibniz made use of the manuscript from which he had copied extracts. Those who question Leibniz's good faith allege that to a man of his ability. when Leibniz discussed analysis by infinite series with Collins and Oldenburg. and in fact worked together on some aspects. and L'Hopital's 1696 book about the calculus from a Leibnizian point of view had also acknowledged Newton's published work of the 1680s as 'nearly all about this calculus' ('presque tout de ce calcul'). That Leibniz saw some of Newton's manuscripts had always been likely. that in 1676 Collins had shown him some of Newton's papers. In 1699 Nicolas Fatio de Duillier had accused Leibniz of plagiarizing Newton. Had Leibniz derived the fundamental idea of the calculus from Newton? The case against Leibniz. It is a priori probable that they would have then shown him the manuscript of Newton on that subject. or whether he had previously invented the calculus. as is shown in a letter to Henry Oldenburg dated October 24. one of which was new to him. 1676 where he remarks that Leibniz had developed a number of methods. It was not until the 1704 publication of an anonymous review of Newton's tract on quadrature. With respect to the review of Newton's quadrature work. But Gerhardt's discovery of a copy made by Leibniz tends to confirm its accuracy. however. there was no reason to suspect Leibniz's good faith. Hence when these extracts were made becomes all-important. while expressing preference for the convenience of Leibniz's notation. but some deny this. the position still looked potentially peaceful: Newton and Leibniz had each made limited acknowledgements of the other's work. but Leibniz also implied that they were of little or no value. Both Leibniz and Newton could see by this exchange of letters that the other was far along towards the calculus (Leibniz in particular mentions it) but only Leibniz was prodded thereby into publication. already some years later than the events that became the subject of the quarrel. a copy of which one or both of them surely possessed. Gerhardt. On the other hand it may be supposed that Leibniz made the extracts from the printed copy in or after 1704. it is not impossible that these extracts were made then. 2 Development of the quarrel The quarrel was a retrospective affair. and to the letter of 10 December 1672. sufficed to give him a clue as to the methods of the calculus. At that time there was no direct evidence that Leibniz had seen this manuscript before it was printed in 1704. and doubts emerged. In 1849. which were rightly attributed to Leibniz. on the method of tangents. as it appeared to Newton's friends. anyone building on that work would have to invent a notation. are questions on which no direct evidence is available at present. J.[2] At first. Shortly before his death. hence Newton's conjecture was not published. was . especially if supplemented by the letter of 10 December 1672. Presumably he was referring to Newton's letters of 13 June and 24 October 1676. It is. that any responsible mathematician doubted that Leibniz had invented the calculus independently of Newton. But the subsequent discussion led to a critical examination of the whole question. extracts from which accompanied the letter of 13 June. in particular power series. worth noting that the unpublished Portsmouth Papers [5] show that when Newton went carefully (but with an obvious bias) into the whole dispute in 1711. along with notes re-expressing the content of these extracts in Leibniz's differential notation.

being so weighted down of late with occupations of a totally different nature. 1713. I have enjoyed little leisure. of equal certainty. in a letter to Conti dated 9 April 1716: "Pour répondre de point en point à l'ouvrage publié contre moi. suspicious details. which referenced all allegations. I would have to go into much minutiae that occurred thirty. il falloit entrer dans un grand détail de quantité de minutiés passées il y a trente à quarante ans. in response to a letter it had received from Leibniz. dont plusiers se sont perdus. Leibniz may have minimized. as demonstrated by his other accomplishments. of which I remember little: I would have to search my old letters. Bernoulli most solemnly denied having written the letter. and I have never tried to propagate my opinions over the world. whose potentialities he fully understood. dont je ne me souvenois guère: il me falloit chercher mes vieilles lettres. dates.g. Newton's claimed reasons for why he took part in the controversy. but I have rather taken care not to involve myself in disputes on account of them. All this casts doubt on his testimony. étant chargé présentement d'occupations d'une toute autre nature. Moreover."] While Leibniz's death put a temporary stop to the controversy. in the Charta Volans. The report of the committee. But Leibniz did not see it until the autumn of 1714. it is possible that since he did not publish his results of 1677 until 1684 and since the differential notation was his invention. Leibniz deliberately altered or added to important documents (e. any benefit he may have enjoyed from reading Newton's work in manuscript. a bias favoring Newton tainted the whole affair from the outset. forty years ago. which I could sort through only with time and patience. His unacknowledged possession of a copy of part of one of Newton's manuscripts may be explicable. outre que le plus souvent je n'ai point gardé les minutes des miennes: et les autres sont ensevelies dans un grand tas de papiers. [6] 3 of 1712. Newton added in a private letter to Bernoulli the following remarks. "I have never. Today the consensus is that Leibniz and Newton independently invented and described the calculus in Europe in the 17th century. he had more than the requisite ability to invent the calculus. To Newton's staunch supporters this was a case of Leibniz's word against a number of contrary. que je ne pouvois débrouiller qu'avec du temps et de la patience. the copy is buried in a great heap of papers. was written by Newton himself and published as "Commercium Epistolicum" (mentioned above) early in 1713. Considering Leibniz's intellectual prowess. "It was certainly Isaac Newton who first devised a new infinitesimal calculus and elaborated it into a widely extensible algorithm. I have little pleasure in mathematical studies. "grasped at fame among foreign nations. and that of April 8. before publishing them. in most cases I did not keep a copy. and falsified a date on a manuscript (1675 being altered to 1673). the debate persisted for many years. as if by the authority of a great judge. he may have seen the question of who originated the calculus as immaterial when set against the expressive power of his notation. had endeavoured to wrest from me. finding in favor of Newton. That document was No such summary (with facts." ["In order to respond point by point to all the work published against me. In accepting the denial. The Royal Society set up a committee to pronounce on the priority dispute. in the Acta Eruditorum). The prevailing opinion in the eighteenth century was against Leibniz (in Britain. which the author of that epistle. Moreover. the differential . mais je n'en avois guère le loisir. the letter of June 7. but it appears that on more than one occasion.. and references) of the case for Leibniz was issued by his friends. Several points should be noted. Now that I am old. 30 years later. but Johann Bernoulli attempted to indirectly weaken the evidence by attacking the personal character of Newton in a letter dated 7 June 1713. and when I did. but I am very desirous to preserve my character for honesty. not in the German-speaking world). In any event. When pressed for an explanation. What he is alleged to have received was a number of suggestions rather than an account of the calculus. of which many are lost." Leibniz explained his silence as follows. That committee never asked Leibniz to give his version of the events. 1716." he said.Leibniz and Newton calculus controversy summed up in the Commercium Epistolicum thoroughly machined by Newton.

com/ books?id=1ZcYsNBptfYC& pg=PA400). newtonproject. 1980.). • Stephen Hawking. (London (Routledge & Kegan Paul) 1986). part 7 "The October 1666 Tract on Fluxions". Journal for the History of Astronomy. [2] Marquis de l'Hôpital's original words about the 'Principia': "lequel est presque tout de ce calcul": see the preface to his Analyse des Infiniment Petits (Paris. "The Newton handbook". php?id=21 [6] http:/ / www. [3] Section I of Book I of the 'Principia'. Essays in the History of Mechanics (Berlin. [5] http:/ / www. the analytical method of fluxions. (Cambridge University Press. Anand. 4th ed. 1908. ie/ pub/ HistMath/ People/ Newton/ CommerciumAccount/ . A Brief History of Time From the Big Bang to Black Holes. Rouse Ball. R." (Hall 1980: 1) One author has identified the dispute as being about 'profoundly different' methods: "Despite. Bantam Books See also • • • • • Isaac Newton Gottfried Leibniz Possible transmission of Keralese mathematics to Europe History of calculus List of scientific priority disputes References [1] D T Whiteside (ed.. Cambridge Uni. [4] D Gjertsen (1986). The Norton History of the Mathematical Sciences. at p. The antagonistic nature of the dispute plays a role in Greg Keyes' steam punk alternate history series The Age of Unreason. • Hall. which were translatable one into the other. 1967). 1997. com/ books?id=Tm0FAAAAQAAJ& pg=PA41). at page 250)[7] 4 References in fiction The Calculus Controversy is a major topic in Neal Stephenson's set of historical novels The Baroque Cycle (2003–04). in 2008 reprint (http:/ / books. and the differential and integral calculus. A Short Account of the History of Mathematics [8]. 1988. the Newtonian and Leibnizian schools shared a common mathematical method. tcd. imperial. A thorough scholarly discussion.is available online in its English translation of 1729." (Guicciardini 2003.1 (1970).. especially at p. The Mathematical Papers of Isaac Newton (Volume 1).99. The Principia has been called "a book dense with the theory and application of the infinitesimal calculus" also in modern times: see Clifford Truesdell. at page 41 (http:/ / books. 1696). explaining "the method of first and last ratios". ac.120. google. • Kandaswamy. Truesdell (1968) and Whiteside (1970) -. points of resemblance. the methods [of Newton and Leibniz] are profoundly different. Press. maths. The Newton/Leibniz Conflict in Context [9]. other authors have emphasized the equivalences and mutual translatability of the methods: here N Guicciardini (2003) appears to confirm L'Hopital (1696) (already cited): ". at page 400. "The mathematical principles underlying Newton's Principia Mathematica"..Leibniz and Newton calculus controversy and integral calculus. the fount of great developments flowing continuously from 1684 to the present day.. • W. Philosophers at War: The Quarrel between Newton and Gottfried Leibniz. google. for a similar view of another modern scholar see also D T Whiteside (1970). 1968). 116-138.." (Grattan-Guinness 1997: 247) On the other hand.see citations above by L'Hospital (1696). uk/ prism. as recognized both in Newton's time and in modern times -. Dated. W. was created independently by Gottfried Leibniz. W W Norton. A. Sources • Ivor Grattan-Guinness. so making the priority row a nonsense. They adopted two algorithms. at page 149. vol. a geometrical form of infinitesimal calculus.

maths. at page 250 (http:/ / books. rutgers. ie/ pub/ HistMath/ People/ Leibniz/ RouseBall/ RB_Gottfried_Leibniz.Leibniz and Newton calculus controversy [7] Niccolò Guicciardini. html [9] http:/ / www. math. html 5 . edu/ courses/ 436/ Honors02/ newton. 2003). google. com/ books?id=Og9azRoVmz8C& pg=PA250). [8] http:/ / www. tcd. (Cambridge University Press. "Reading the Principia: The Debate on Newton's Mathematical Methods for Natural Philosophy from 1687 to 1736".

Terry0051.0 Unported http:/ / creativecommons. Koavf. Salix alba. Hermitage17. Wikicontribute. Megastar. SpecOp Macavity. Gene Ward Smith. Meile. Kunkerlund. Nousernamesleft. Wafulz. Charles Matthews. BlackJeebus. 127 anonymous edits License Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3. Immunize. Kbdank71. Paul Foxworthy. M a s. G9615111.php?oldid=374713253  Contributors: 4C. Rich Farmbrough. Egsan Bacon. org/ licenses/ by-sa/ 3. Petri Krohn. MagneticFlux. Orinthe.org/w/index. Concerned cynic. Michael Hardy. Robertvan1. Pdcook. Coldacid. Thumperward. Noctibus. Brian0918. Headbomb.). Darklilac. Anterior1. Padvi. Heron. Kushal one. A bit iffy. Richard Arthur Norton (1958. Vicenarian. Zondor. Geometry guy. Myasuda. Freddicus. Trebor. SlickWillyLovesSex. Gimmetrow. Jagz. Anskas. Pfold. SkerHawx. Tpbradbury. Xxanthippe. Dsp13. D. Muspilli. Yamamoto Ichiro. Afasmit. Bucephalus. Neethis. Yeungchunk.wikipedia. WaveEtherSniffer. Proberton. Christian75. Seanahan. Elassint. 0/ .Article Sources and Contributors 6 Article Sources and Contributors Leibniz and Newton calculus controversy  Source: http://en. Thunderboltz. Owlgorithm. Dodiad. Falard. Melchoir.H. Husond.

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