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: John Wilkins' mathematical magic and the perpetuity of invention

By Maarten Van Dyck and Koen Vermeir

Abstract

International audienceAkin to the mathematical recreations, John Wilkins' Mathematicall Magick (1648) elaborates the pleasant, useful and wondrous part of practical mathematics, dealing in particular with its material culture of machines and instruments. We contextualize the Mathematicall Magick by studying its institutional setting and its place within changing conceptions of art, nature, religion and mathematics. We devote special attention to the way Wilkins inscribes mechanical innovations within a discourse of wonder. Instead of treating 'wonder' as a monolithic category, we present a typology, showing that wonders were not only recreative, but were meant to inspire Wilkins' readers to new mathematical inventions

Topics: John Wilkins, Mathematical Magic, mathematical recreations, machines, wonder, mathematics and religion, innovation, MSC 01A45, [ SHS.HISPHILSO ] Humanities and Social Sciences/History, Philosophy and Sociology of Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.hm.2014.05.004
OAI identifier: oai:HAL:halshs-01021908v1
Provided by: Hal-Diderot

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