Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Harriot, Thomas: Renaissance Philosophy

Born: Oxford (?), ca. 1560
Died: London, 2 July 1621
  • Matthias SchemmelEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_330-1


Harriot was an English mathematician and philosopher working in diverse fields of contemporary knowledge such as algebra, astronomy, navigation, cartography, architecture, mechanics, optics, alchemy, linguistics, and biblical chronology. Besides a small book on the New Found Land of Virginia and a posthumously edited work on algebra, his work is handed down to us solely in the form of about 5,200 sheets of working notes, a fact that complicates the appraisal of his achievements.


Round Body Developmental Dynamic Theoretical Tradition Early Item Original Aspect 
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Primary Literature

  1. British Museum Add MS 6782–9, Petworth House (Sussex), HMC 240–1; see http://echo.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/content/scientific_revolution/harriot/harriot_manuscripts
  2. Harriot, Thomas 1588. A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia. London: s.n.Google Scholar
  3. Har[r]iot, Thomas. 1631. Artis analyticae praxis, ad aequationes algebraicas noua, expedia, & generali methodo, resoluendas: tractatus. London: Barker.Google Scholar
  4. Harriot, Thomas 2007. Thomas Harriot’s Artis analyticae Praxis: An English translation with commentary, trans. and ed. Muriel Seltman and Robert Goulding. New York: Springer.Google Scholar

Secondary Literature

  1. Fox, Robert (ed.). 2000. Thomas Harriot: An Elizabethan man of science. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  2. Fox, Robert (ed.). 2012. Thomas Harriot and his world: Mathematics, exploration, and natural philosophy in early modern England. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  3. Schemmel, Matthias. 2008. The English Galileo: Thomas Harriot’s work on motion as an example of preclassical mechanics. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  4. Shirley, John W. (ed.). 1974. Thomas Harriot: Renaissance scientist. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  5. Shirley, John W. (ed.). 1981. A source book for the study of Thomas Harriot. New York: Arno Press.Google Scholar
  6. Shirley, John W. 1983. Thomas Harriot: A biography. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  7. Stedall, Jacqueline A. 2003. The greate invention of algebra: Thomas Harriot’s treatise on equations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for the History of ScienceBerlinGermany