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Book Sections Year : 2018

D’Alembert’s Mathematical Correspondence: Beyond the Formal Description of Networks

La correspondance mathématique de D'Alembert : au-delà de la description formelle des réseaux

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Abstract

D'Alembert (1717-1783) corresponded with some of the greatest mathematicians of his time, Leonhard Euler, Gabriel Cramer, and Joseph Louis Lagrange. This correspondence sheds light on the scientific controversies and epistemological issues of the day. It also clarifies the organization of the academic world in the middle of the eighteenth century, despite its lacks and losses. It allows us to determine the precise various statuses of a "letter," from the most public to the very private. We will question the relevance of a network epistolary representation, by inserting mathematical problems into the context of other forms of 1scientific communication: published treatises, academic reports, periodicals, and the Encyclopédie (1751-1772), the main medium for D'Alembert's work and for the Enlightenment. We will then focus on the relationships between Euler and D'Alembert, inserted into the overlapping of Paris-Berlin antagonisms and alliances. Amongst the many different approaches that correspondences open us up to, two lines will be put forward here: to question the meaning that sets down a graphical representation of epistolary networks and, in parallel, to describe controversies by interweaving the various levels of interpretation suggested by the analyses of other written networks.
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Dates and versions

hal-02377948 , version 1 (13-11-2020)

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Irène Passeron. D’Alembert’s Mathematical Correspondence: Beyond the Formal Description of Networks. Mathematical Correspondences and Critical Editions, pp.69-83, 2018, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-73577-1_4⟩. ⟨hal-02377948⟩
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