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KTH/Nordita/SU seminar in Theoretical Physics

"Ultimately equal". Newton and the notion of limit

by Johan Grundberg (MdH)

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Bishop Berkeley accused the early practitioners of calculus of using ''a most inconsistent way of arguing such as would not be allowed in Divinity''. Calculus was put on a satisfactory basis in the 19th century by basing it on the concept of limit. It has recently been pointed out that there is evidence that Newton had a better understanding of this concept than he is generally given credit for. I will compare Newton's definition of limit with later versions and discuss a couple of examples of how he used it.