Development of concepts and the evolution of science. Symbolic algebra in the 16th and 17th century. A case study.

Period 01-01-2004 to 31-12-2005
Type Predoctoral Fellowship
Promotor(s) Prof. Dr. Diderik Batens and Prof. Dr. Fernand Hallyn
Fellow Albrecht Heeffer
Funding agency Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)

In this study we will expand upon the hypothesis that the 16th-century tradition of master arithmeticians did influence the conceptual shift that has lead to a symbolic algebra.  The origin and evolution of key concepts, and possible inconsistencies within these concepts (“number”, “unknown”, “equation” and “roots of equations”) will be analysed, with special focus on algebraical solutions with negative, irrational and imaginary numbers.