Historical Survey

Part of the Science Networks. Historical Studies book series (SNHS, volume 33)


Polygenesis of the motive and heterogenesis of the object are the greatest difficulties any scholar who wishes to grasp the meaning of the peculiar discipline that Leibniz named analysis situs has to confront. Even though one succeeded in looking carefully, through the initial confusion of intents and unbelievable accidentality of outcomes, at the means Leibniz provided for the foundation of an Analysis of Situation — those brilliant but rhapsodic mathematical results and those scattered yet well crafted metaphysical considerations on the nature of space — even then the meaning of Leibniz’s undertaking as a whole would risk being shrouded over. Furthermore, the unfortunate history of the editing of the philosopher’s works leaves as many gaps between the unconnected essays dealing with this discipline as to puzzle and almost embarrass the scholar. A congeries of reading, dating, and interpreting problems makes it even harder to reconstruct the genesis, history, and value of the science Leibniz attached so many hopes to. We can therefore hardly escape the feeling that we do not know more about this science than its mere name.


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© Birkhäuser Verlag AG 2007

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