A Brief History of the Function Concept

  • Israel Kleiner


The evolution of the concept of function goes back 4000 years; 3,700 of these consist of anticipations. The idea evolved for close to 300 years in intimate connection with problems in calculus and analysis. In fact, a one-sentence definition of analysis as the study of properties of various classes of functions would not be far off the mark. Moreover, the concept of function is one of the distinguishing features of “modern” as against “classical” mathematics.


Fourier Series Eighteenth Century Function Concept Category Theory Initial Shape 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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