Forschungskolloquium zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte

Maimon's Mathematical Methods of Invention

16:15 - 17:45 Uhr
Veranstaltet von
Friedrich Steinle (TU Berlin)
Vortragende Person(en)
Idit Chikurel (TU Berlin / University of Hamburg)

In 1795, Salomon Maimon (1753-1800) published two articles describing the outlines of a theory of invention. This theory includes ten methods designed to produce new mathematical knowledge, such as "analysis of the cases of the solution," "analysis of the object" and a method of conversion. Although not mentioned by Maimon, his methods of invention were influenced by problem-solving techniques used by Greek mathematicians. More specifically, I show how he was influenced by Proclus' commentary on Book I of Elements and by practices of diorism. My discussion of Maimon's methods is accompanied by examples taken from Euclid's Elements and Data. I argue that these methods of invention influenced Maimon's innovative conception of analysis defined in the broader sense, as grounded not only on the principle of contradiction but on intuition as well, in both philosophy and mathematics.

Idit Chikurel is a philosopher and historian of science. She is currently a Guest Lecturer at TU Berlin and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Hamburg. Her first monograph, Salomon Maimon's Theory of Invention: Scientific Genius, Analysis and Euclidean Geometry, was published by de Gruyter in 2020. After obtaining her Ph.D. at Tel-Aviv University in 2019, she has conducted postdoctoral fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Humboldt University, University of Potsdam and ETH Zürich.


Wegen der weiterhin bestehenden Einschränkungen wird das Kolloquium im Online-Format stattfinden. Für Details und aktuelle Informationen siehe