Families of Curves and the Origins of Partial Differentiation
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This book provides a detailed description of the main episodes in the emergence of partial differentiation during the period 1690-1740. It argues that the development of this concept - to a considerable degree of perfection - took place almost exclusively in problems concerning families of curves. Thus, the book shows the origins of the ideas and techniques which paved the way for the sudden introduction of partial differential equations in 1750. The main methodological characteristic of the book is its emphasis on a full understanding of the motives, problems and goals of the mathematicians of that time.