the calculus

Jim Parish jparish at SIUE.EDU
Thu Mar 15 20:39:03 UTC 2007

Joel S. Berson writes:
> My error -- in my dotage, I'd forgotten that it *is* "the
> calculus".  As the obsolete OED2 writes, " The differential calculus
> is often spoken of as 'the calculus'."  But why, oh OED2?  See
>, which
> guesses from the Latin as "the way to compute".

My guess would be that it is *the* calculus, as opposed to one of the other,
less-notable calculuses (calculi?), such as the calculus of variations and the
calculus of finite differences. (I know there are several more branches of
mathematics with such names, but I'm having trouble coming up with any.)

Jim Parish
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