This book studies the Dutch mathematician Simon Stevin (1548-1620) as a new type of ‘man of knowledge’. Traditionally, Stevin is best known for his contributions to the ‘Archimedean turn’. This innovative volume moves beyond this conventional image by bringing many other aspects of his work into view, by analysing the connections between the multiple strands of his thinking and by situating him in a broader European context. Like other multi-talents (‘polymaths’) in his time (several of whom are discussed in this volume), Stevin made an important contribution to the transformation of the ideal of knowledge in early modern Europe. This book thus provides new insights into the phenomenon of ‘polymaths’ in general and in the case of Stevin in particular.
Karel Davids, Ph.D. (1986), Leiden University, is Professor Emeritus of Economic and Social History at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He has published on economic and social history, the history of technology, the history of knowledge and maritime history, particularly in the early modern period.
Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis, Ph.D. (1999), University of Twente, is Associate Professor of History of Science and Technology at that university and Louise Thijssen-Schoute Professor of Early Modern History of Knowledge at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He has published on early modern knowledge practices, in particular associated with the mathematical sciences.
Rienk Vermij, Ph.D. (1991), Utrecht University, is Professor at the Department of History of Science at the University of Oklahoma. He has published on the history of science and intellectual history, especially on the period from the sixteenth century to the Enlightenment.
Ida Stamhuis, Ph.D. (1989), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, was Associate Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Honorary Professor at Aarhus University. She has published on the history of statistics, the history of women in science and the history of genetics.
List of Figures
List of Contributors
Introduction: Simon Stevin, Polymaths and Polymathy in the Early Modern Period
Karel Davids, Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis, Rienk Vermij and Ida Stamhuis
1. The Engineer and the Philosopher. Reflections on the Culture and Economy of Mechanics in Court Society
Pietro Daniel Omodeo
2. Vitruvian Universalism. On the Order of Mechanical Knowledge in Joseph Furttenbach the Elder (1591-1667)
3. The Swedish Archimedes. The Formation of the Polymath Christopher Polhem
4. Stevin’s Physical Geography: The World as a Chemical Furnace
5. The Art of Demonstration by Simon Stevin. Linguistic and Mathematical Innovation
6. Causality and the Reduction to Art in Simon Stevin's Mechanics
Maarten Van Dyck
7. The Wise Origins of the Consten. Stevin and Sixteenth-century Debates on Arts, Mathematics, and Language
Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis
8. Simon Stevin’s Age of the Sages. In Search of an Alternative Renaissance: Exploring Scientific Methods Based on Pre-Classical Authorities, Empirical Data and Pure Languages
Charles van den Heuvel
9. Politics in the Vernacular. The
Vita Politica. Het burgherlick leven (1590) as a Practical Handbook for Civic Life
10. Simon Stevin’s Music Theory Revisited: A Dialogue
H. Floris Cohen and Julia Kursell
All interested in the history of knowledge in the early modern period, and all interested in the history of polymathy and Simon Stevin.