Colin Maclaurin popularized the physico-mathematical work of Isaac Newton

17 Feb


Colin Maclaurin (1698-1746), in Scottish Gaelic his name pronounce Cailean MacLabhruinn, was a Scottish mathematician who made important contributions to mathematics, in special, he is known by his Maclaurin series. He was the first one to popularize the physico-mathematical work of sir Isaac Newton publishing An Account of Isaac Newton’s Philosophical Discoveries (see link below). This publication raised a so great interest and admiration that for some it constituted the “great intellectual affair of the century: …the application of the experimental and geometrical method of Newton to the study of human nature, now stripped of the trappings of theology”[2].

Sir Isaac Newton contributed decisively to the Enlightenment (reason as the primary source of authority and legitimacy). There is great evidence, and several historians of science soustain the argument, that Adam Smith and other intellectuals had the “secret ambition” to make parallelism of his theories, to imitate Newton, and Adam Smith work shows is efforts to discover general laws of economy, inspired by the success of Newton and his discovery of the natural laws of motion



[1] An Account of Isaac Newton’s Philosophical Discoveries, by Colin Maclaurin

[2] Political Economy in the Mirror of Physics: Adam Smith and Isaac Newton, by Arnaud Diemer and Hervé Guillemin, Revue d’histoire des sciences, 2011/1 (Volume 64)



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