De Buzon, Frédéric. 1998. "Mathesis universalis." In La science classique: XVIe-XVIIIe siècle. Dictionnaire critique,
edited by Blay, Michel and Halleux, Robert, 610-621. Paris: Flammarion.
Desanti, Jean-Toussaint. 1972. "Réflexion sur le concept de Mathesis." Bulletin de la Société Française de Philosophie no.
Repris dans: J. T. Desanti, La philosophie silencieuse ou Critique des philosophies de la science, Paris: Le Seuil, 1975, pp.
Nouvelle édition avec une Introduction de Jacques Sédat dans Figures de la psychanalyse, 2005/2 (12), pp. 103-137.
Dumoncel, Jean-Claude. 2002. La tradition de la mathesis universalis. Platon, Leibniz, Russell. Paris: Unebévue.
Rabouin, David. 2009. Mathesis universalis. L'idée de "mathématique universelle" d'Aristote à Descartes. Paris: Presses
Universitaires de France.
Table des matières: Introduction 9; La constitution de la "mathématique universelle" comme problème philosophique 33; I. Aristote
37; II. "Mathématique universelle" et théories mathématiques: Aristote, Euclide, Epinomis 85; III. Le moment néo-platonicien 129; Vers la
science de l'ordre et de la misure 193; Introduction 193; IV. La renaissance de la mathématique universelle 195; V. La mathesis universalis
cartésienne 251; Conclusion 347; Annexe I. La quaestio de scientia mathematica communi 363; Annexe II. Essai bibliographique sur la mathesis
universalis chez Descartes et Leibniz 367; Bibliographie 375; Index nominum 397-402.
Knobloch, Eberhard. 2004. "Mathesis - The Idea of a Universal Science." In Form, Zahl, Ordnung. Studien zur Wissenschafts- und
Technikgeschichte. Festschrift für Ivo Schneider zum 65. Geburtstag, edited by Seising, Rudolf, Folkerts, Menso and Hashagen, Ulf, 77-90. Stuttgart: Franz
" “I know much, it is true, yet I’d like to know everything”: Obviously Wagner, the self-confident servant of Goethe’s Faust
(verse 601) wanted to compare with God whereas in universal topic of humanism and baroque times - the historical Faust died in the 1530ies - should only enable
men to participate in God's universal knowledge. The epoch overflowed with universalisms, like universal arithmetic, art, characteristic, harmony, instruments,
language, magic, mathematics, method, science, symbolism. By all means, universality or at least generality corresponding to unity ranked above diversity
corresponding to plurality. “Pluralitas num quam est ponenda sine necessitate”, Ockham had already said, “plurality must never be assumed without
Evidently this attitude corresponded to the political situation of the 17th century. It was the time of absolutism, of absolute monarchs.
Yet, we must be careful not to rush to conclusions. 19th and 20th centuries physicists of democratic societies liked and like reductionist unifications: the
Grand Unified Theory (GUT) and even the hypothetical Theory Of Everything (TOE) are taking shape.
Harmony instead of controversy, certainty instead of uncertainty, evidence instead of obscurity: Since Platonic times mathesis was the
discipline which seemed to be especially appropriate to guarantee these ideals. The better if it even seems to grant immortality: For ‘‘Archimedes will be
remembered when Aeschylus is forgotten because languages die and mathematical ideas do not. ‘Immortality’ may be an inappropriate word, but probably a
mathematician has the best chances of whatever it may mean”, as the English mathematician Godefrey Harold Hardy asserted (1993, 81). (*)
No wonder that mathesis played a crucial role in the history of the idea of a universal science. I would like to discuss five essential
aspects of this history:
1. Capstone; 2.Tree of science; 3. Human reason; 4. Ocean of sciences; 5. Theory with practice; Epilogue." (p. 77)
(*) [G. H. Hardy, A Mathematician Apology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1993 (first edition 1940).]
Marciszewski, Witold. 1984. "The Principle of Comprehension as a Present-Day Contribution to Mathesis Universalis." Philosophia
Naturalis no. 21:523-537.
Mittelstrass, Jürgen. 1979. "The philosopher's conception of "Mathesis Universalis" from Descartes to Leibniz."
Annals of Science no. 36:593-610.
"In Descartes, the concept of a 'universal science' differs from that of a 'mathesis universalis', in that the latter is simply a
general theory of quantities and proportions. Mathesis universalis is closely linked with mathematical analysis; the theorem to be proved is taken as given,
and the analyst seeks to discover that from which the theorem follows. Though the analytic method is followed in the Meditations, Descartes is not
concerned with a mathematisation of method; mathematics merely provides him with examples. Leibniz, on the other hand, stressed the importance of a calculus as
a way of representing and adding to what is known, and tried to construct a 'universal calculus' as part of his proposed universal symbolism, his
'characteristica universalis'. The characteristica universalis was never completed-it proved impossible, for example, to list its basic terms, the 'alphabet of
human thoughts'-but parts of it did come to fruition, in the shape of Leibniz's infinitesimal calculus and his various logical calculi. By his construction of
these calculi, Leibniz proved that it is possible to operate with concepts in a purely formal way."
Poser, Hans. 1998. "Mathesis universalis and Scientia Singularis. Connections and Disconnections between Scientific Disciplines."
Philosophia Naturalis no. 35:3-21.
Since Einstein sought a unification of relativity theory and quantum theory, two generations of physicists have tried to establish such a
theory in order to unify the most efficient macroscopic theory with the extremely powerful microscopic one, but up to now they have not managed it. In many
disciplines we are confronted with competing models that are successful within different and even overlapping areas, but which are at the same time
incompatible with each other, seen from a more universal standpoint. To develop a unifying theory, is thus one of the greatest challenges.
Why do we take this as a challenge at all? In a historical perspective, this is far from evident: for nearly two thousand years, nobody felt
disturbed by the fact that, to locate the position of a planet by means of the Ptolemaic system, one had to make three different mathematical calculations with
no theory in common. The method developed by Copernicus, was by no means more precise in its results, nor was it simpler in its calculations, it had only one
advantage, not belonging to physics, but to metaphysics, as it proposed one uniform procedure! Differing from the methodology of the School, which, for each
quaestio postulated its correspondent appropriate method, and which, therefore, could not lead to universal theory, we are now confronted with the idea of
unity, corresponding to an absolutely different image of science, the idea there should be a unity of science or even a unified science! At the beginning,
reasons for this had been vague, they hinted at the unity of Gods creation; and its echo might be seen in a secularized version in C. Fr. v. Weizsäcker's
Unity of Nature (*). The first theoretical approach is developed in the rationalistic tradition, more precisely, in Descartes and his embracing
Mathesis universalis. The same aim is to be found in Leibniz and his proposal of a Scientia generalis, as well as in the intention of Rudolf
Carnap and the Vienna circle in postulating a Unified science. In all these cases we are confronted with the question how this all-embracing universal science
is related to the singular and diverging sciences, and what the borders of the principles of subordination are."
"Our search for a link among changing and mutual exclusive sciences shall take the way from Descartes to Leibniz and Neurath on the one
hand and Collingwood and Kuhn on the other. It leads to a discussion of Toulmin s thesis of an evolutionary character of all scientific development, a thesis
which is taken as support for the post-modern worldview. Against all these attempts, the guiding thesis of this paper is to show that we have to accept truth
as a regulative idea behind each scientific undertaking." (pp. 3-5)
(*) [New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1980]