The Newton Leibniz priority dispute of Calculus

Evaluation scheme:

Arguments (50%):

Presents a rather concise (about one sentence), interesting and non-trivial thesis; The essay shows engagement with historical sources (primary and/or secondary).


thesis statement  at the end of the first paragraph. (one assertive sentence, clear, concise, non-trivia, underline it):

express a view that is not immediately obvious. (maybe the dramatic aspect of the dispute, maybe how it affects us today)

Since the argument (thesis) is worth 50%, it is very important to have a strong thesis on the topic of the dispute between Newton and Leibniz ( The thesis should not be about the result of the dispute since we all know Newton won hence no need to argue that)



Proper Structure (20%):

The essay has a clear introduction, body, conclusion, transitions, thesis statement.


Style: writing ability (10%):

Clarity, sentences, paragraphs, foot/endnotes, formal (academic) style.


Sources (10%):

Uses good sources (avoid wikipaedia if possible) and proper bibliographic style (APA)



Suggestions for the thesis

  1. (not good since this thesis is not argumentative/ too trivial)

“Although Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was first to publish his work on the subject, Isaac Newton developed his theory of “fluxions” first thus earned the title of inventor of infinitesimal calculus.”


  1. Aim for some ideas which people could potentially argue (disagree with)


Potential directions for the thesis statement:

Impact of the dispute, meaning of it, significance?

Things that happened during the dispute rather than the results of the dispute

  1. Social-political aspects
  2. Technical mathematics aspects



General structure:

– Intro, ends with thesis statement.

-3/4 body paragraphs, each of which elaborates on piece of evidence in support of your thesis

(why your thesis is even true?)


– One paragraph about objections to your thesis

(Give details of the objection, show that the objection is incorrect)


– Conclusion: Summary of your thesis and the evidence for it, maybe a general remark about why the discussion is important in the first place









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