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# Historian: Leibniz, the seventeenth- century philosopher

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Historian: Leibniz, the seventeenth- century philosopher  [#permalink]

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08 Feb 2015, 12:08
4
11
00:00

Difficulty:

75% (hard)

Question Stats:

53% (01:56) correct 47% (02:03) wrong based on 508 sessions

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Historian: Leibniz, the seventeenth- century philosopher, published his version of calculus before Newton did. But then Newton revealed his private notebooks, which showed he had been using these ideas for at least a decade before Leibniz’s publication. Newton also claimed that he had disclosed these ideas to Leibniz in a letter shortly before Leibniz’s publication. Yet close examination of the letter shows that Newton’s few cryptic remarks did not reveal anything important about calculus. Thus, Leibniz and Newton each independently discovered calculus.

Which one of the following is an assumption required by the historian’s argument?

A) Leibniz did not tell anyone about calculus prior to publishing his version of it.
B) No third person independently discovered calculus prior to Newton and Leibniz.
C) Newton believed that Leibniz was able to learn something important about calculus from his letter to him.
D) Neither Newton nor Leibniz knew that the other had developed a version of calculus prior to Leibniz publication.
E) Neither Newton nor Leibniz learned crucial details about calculus from some third source.

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Re: Historian: Leibniz, the seventeenth- century philosopher  [#permalink]

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08 Feb 2015, 18:23
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Quote:
This question is asking for a necessary assumption. Let's ID the core:

The conclusion is that Lieniz and Newton each independently discovered calculus.

Why? What's the premise? It takes a bit of digestion, but the premises boil down to this:

Liebniz published his version of calculus before Newton, and didn't receive any real help (regardless of some people who disagree). Also, Newton had been using those ideas for at least a decade before Lieniz published his. All of that boils down to the idea that they didn't help each other.

There are some serious gaps here! For one, just because Liebniz published his ideas in year X doesn't mean he didn't tell Newton about it beforehand. Similarly, we never learn that either character actually discovered calculus. Perhaps they didn't help each other, but who is to say that the fact these two guys didn't help each other means they each discovered calculus? Maybe their wives did and they stole the work (independently of each other, of course ).

(E) hinges on this assumption - we have to assume that neither of them learned crucial bits of calculus from someone else.

(A) is about who Liebniz told before publishing it. It's a problem of Liebniz told Newton, but it might be OK if he told someone else.

(B) This is quite tempting! It sure seems that the negation of this - a third person independently discovered calculus - would destroy the argument. But it doesn't! So what if a third person independently discovered it? As long as neither Newton or Liebniz used that discovery to "discover" calculus, it's not a problem. Apparently this argument accepts the idea that multiple people can independently discover an idea.

(C) is irrelevant - we don't care about what Newton believed about Liebniz.

(D) is also tempting - it sounds like it's saying "neither learned calculus from the other" but it doesn't! It says that neither knew that the other had discovered a version of calculus. Knowing that someone had developed something doesn't mean you know what the thing is.

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Re: Historian: Leibniz, the seventeenth- century philosopher  [#permalink]

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23 Apr 2017, 02:47
1
A: Negate: Leibniz told someone prior to publishing. Still our conclusion stands corrected that Leibniz independently discovered calculus.

B: Negate: Third person independently discovered calculus. But it does not destroy our conclusion that Leibniz and Newton each independently discovered calculus. We can merely add this third person to the list.

C: Clearly irrelevant. It kind of opposes the Premise " Yet close examination of the letter shows that Newton’s few cryptic remarks did not reveal anything important about calculus." . Let Newton believe what he thinks but this is not what the author believes.

D: If they (Newton and Leibniz) knew also either of them is working on same thing unless there is SHARING of the relevant thoughts it cannot be hold as a proper assumption.

E: Left after Process of Elimination. If they have copied from a same third resource then there is no way we can say Leibniz and Newton each independently discovered calculus. By negating, the Bold part is violated here.
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Historian: Leibniz, the seventeenth- century philosopher  [#permalink]

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25 Feb 2018, 22:16
So, the key word here "independently DISCOVERED" -> E is correct while D is a trap.
B is incorrect b/c if B is true, then there will be 3 people who discovered independently the calculus. Thus, the conclusion is still right.
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Historian: Leibniz, the seventeenth- century philosopher  [#permalink]

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05 Jul 2018, 20:39
when we negate option E

we get this: E) Neither Newton nor Leibniz did not learn crucial details about calculus from some third source.

on negation this answer gets eliminated...if they did not learn from a third source...that doesn't affect the conclusion...how is E the answer?
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Historian: Leibniz, the seventeenth- century philosopher &nbs [#permalink] 05 Jul 2018, 20:39
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