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Mathematical Treasure: Christian Wolff's Foundations of Mathematics

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Christian Wolff (1679–1754) was a German Rationalist philosopher of the Enlightenment Period. He was a prolific author and wrote several works on mathematics, the most ambitious of which was his 1710 Anfangs-Gründe aller Mathematischen Wissenschafften (Foundations of All Mathematical Knowledge). This is the title page of an abridged 1772 edition with the author proudly observing his work from the frontispiece:                                               

The following selection of illustrative plates from the text attests to the geometric instruction provided. Note the emphasis on the use of measuring instruments and the demonstration of surveying situations.                                               

The images above were obtained from the Rare Book Collection at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

See also a digitization owned by the Wellcome Library of volume 3 from a 1750 printing (consisting of four volumes):

Title page from 1750 printing of Christian Wolff's Der Anfangs-Gründe aller mathematischen Wissenschaften.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Christian Wolff's Foundations of Mathematics," Convergence (February 2016)