Hegel’s Heritage in Applied Mathematics: A Plurality of Traditions

  • I. Grattan-Guinness
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire Des Idées / International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 136)


Hegel began his university teaching career with a dissertation on Newtonian astronomy, published in 1801.1 Throughout his working life he frequently turned his attention to questions of mechanics and to the issues then being raised in respect of Newtonianism. Not being a Hegel scholar, I shall not discuss the dissertation, or his subsequent critique of widely accepted ideas in this branch of natural science. My aim is to indicate in general terms the state of affairs in mechanics at the time of his writing, and thereby to provide Hegelians with a context for the consideration of his work. After some preliminary observations on terminology, I consider three main traditions prevailing at the time, and outline the range of the subject in five main branches. I then pick out some philosophical issues that may well have attracted his attention at one time or another. Finally, I take note of a few main texts in mechanics published towards the close of the eighteenth century, and assess the traditions in which they stand and the range of ways in which they treat the subject.


Eighteenth Century Variational Mechanic Philosophical Issue Vital Force Heavenly Body 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Shea, W. 1981, 1986.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jouguet, E. 1909; Mach, E. 1883; Duhem, P. 1903; Dugas, R. 1955; Bogolyubov, A.N. 1976, 1978; Szabó, I. 1977. For more general selections of references to primary sources, see Reuss, J.D. 1801-1821; and to secondary ones, see Whitrow, M. 1976; May, K.O. 1973; Dauben, J.W. 1985.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Grattan-Guinness, I. 1990a, chs. 5-7, 8 and 16; 1990b, 1993.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Montucla, J.E. 1802; Schofield, R.E. 1970; Rousseau, G.S. and Porter, R.S. 1980; Hankins, T.L. 1985.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kuhn, T.S. 1976; Fox, R. 1974.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cohen, LB. 1971.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Pulte, H. 1987; Fraser, C. 1983.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Fleckenstein, J. 1957; Fraser, C. 1985a; Lindt, R. 1904.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Todhunter, I. 1873; Bacharach, M. 1883.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Grattan-Guinness, I. 1984; 1990, ch. 16; Scott, W.L. 1970.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gillispie, C.C. 1971.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lalande, J.-J. Lefrançois de 1803; Gautier, A. 1817; Delambre, J.B.J. 1827; Wilson, C. 1980, 1987.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Aiton, E.J. 1953; Greenberg, J.L. Geodesy.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Rühlmann, M. 1881-1885; Gillmor, C.S. 1971; Heyman, J. 1972.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kötter, F.W.F. 1892; Poncelet, J.V. 1852; Mouret, E.J.G. 1921.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Mascart, J.M. 1919; Grattan-Guinness, I. 1989.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Truesdell, C. 1954, 1955, 1960; 1968, ch. 5; Bell, J.F. 1973; Euler, L. 1983.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wolf, C.J.É. 1889-91 (which includes extensive introduction and bibliography, and some transcriptions or translations into French).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Körner, T. 1904; Scott, W.L. 1970.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Van Lunteren, F. 1991.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Fleckenstein, J.O. 1957; Pulte, H. 1987.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Mehrtens, H. 1980.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Jähns, M. 1891.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Grattan-Guinness, I. 1990a, Interlude 641.1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Grattan-Guinness

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations