The history of the concept of a function

  • Fyodor A. Medvedev
Part of the Science Networks · Historical Studies book series (SNHS, volume 7)


There is at present no single generally accepted definition of the concept of a function. The views of different mathematicians on this concept and the methods of introducing it diverge. We shall illustrate this in the present section. Before doing so we remark that there is also no single way of denoting the concept under consideration. The word function is most often used for this purpose, but the word mapping is quite common, and the terms operator, operation, transformation, and several others are used in various senses. Sometimes other connotations are given to nearly all of these terms.


Nineteenth Century General Concept Eighteenth Century Variable Quantity Functional Dependence 
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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fyodor A. Medvedev
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for History of Science and TechnologyMoskvaUSSR

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