Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus

Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus

German philosopher, mathematician, experimenter, inventor of European white porcelain.
Date of Birth: 10.04.1651
Country: Germany

Biography of Erenfried Walter Chirngauz

Erenfried Walter Chirngauz was a German philosopher, mathematician, experimenter, and inventor of European white porcelain. He received his initial education in his homeland, in Lusatia, where his noble family originated. In 1668, driven by his calling and inclination towards mathematical sciences, he traveled to Leiden, Netherlands, to study mathematics and physics.

During the war between Holland and France, Chirngauz became involved in the military and enlisted as a volunteer in the Dutch army. After the war, he turned his attention to scientific pursuits and traveled to England, where he met the mathematician Oldenburg, the scientific secretary of the Royal Society. In 1675, upon Oldenburg's recommendation, Chirngauz arrived in Paris, where he met Leibniz and shared his first research on algebra. This research, titled "Methodus auferendi omnes terminos intermedios ex data equatione" (Method for removing all intermediate terms from a given equation), was later published in "Acta eruditorum" in 1683. The method proposed by Chirngauz aimed to solve algebraic equations of any degree by creating a new equation with only two terms, using an auxiliary equation of a lower degree.

Chirngauz's work in the theory of algebraic equations and his research on caustic curves, formed by parallel rays reflected from spherical concave mirrors and mirrors with cycloidal meridional sections, earned him recognition from the French Academy, which admitted him as a foreign member. After 1681, Chirngauz lived in Saxony, where, with the support of the Elector, he established three glass factories that produced unprecedentedly large optical glasses. The largest concave mirror, made of copper, had a diameter of 3 Leipziger ells and a focal length of 2 feet. The production and application of these extremely large focusing mirrors and lenses enabled innovative physical and chemical experiments, such as the Italian physicists Averani and Tardigoni's proof of the combustibility of diamonds in 1694 and 1695.

Chirngauz is credited with inventing European white porcelain, although after his death in 1708, the accolades went to Johann Friedrich Böttger. In his work "Medicina mentis sive artis inveniendi praecepta generalia" (The Medicine of the Mind, or the Precepts of the Art of Discovery), first published in 1687, Chirngauz aims to provide an art of scientific knowledge of real things, not merely an art of combining words. He considers the reliability of consciousness, justified by internal experience, as the basis for all knowledge. Internal experience confirms that certain states are pleasurable while others are not, and that we can understand some things while others remain incomprehensible. Additionally, we have perceptions and representations of external objects. Chirngauz sees these facts as the foundation of knowledge in general, morality, and rational and empirical knowledge in particular.

According to Chirngauz, the task of science is to deduce the particular from the general, making deduction its method. Concepts form the material of science, and working with concepts involves three acts: correct definition, deduction from the definitions, and the transition from the combination of definitions to theorems. Chirngauz considers the resulting system of knowledge as physics or the science of the world, which is proven a priori using precise mathematical methods and a posteriori through evident experiments that convince the imagination.

Chirngauz's "Medicina mentis" aims to elaborate on the logic and methodology of rationalistic philosophy. It belongs to the category of works that seek to establish a more detailed understanding of logic and methodology in philosophy.