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"Cartesian space" refers to a coordinate system that is sometimes referred to as a map. It is named after René Descartes.

Meanehile, the french word for "map" is "carte."

Is there any relationship? Or coincidence?

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    What did your research tell you? – curiousdannii Jan 27 '18 at 1:16
  • @curiousdannii. Has your own research led to a plausible etymology for the toponym "Les Cartes"? Mine has not. – fdb Jan 27 '18 at 11:51
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As you say, “Cartesian” is from the Latinised form of the family name “Descartes”. This derives from the one-time place name “Les Cartes”. So “Descartes” means “from (the place called) Les Cartes”. However, I have not found any satisfactory explanation for this toponym. It could be from the plural of carte, “playing card, map”, but this does not sound like a very plausible name for a village.

Otherwise, do you know if Descartes himself (writing of course in Latin) ever referred to the co-ordinate system as a “charta”? Maybe you would get a better answer in the “History of science and mathematics" forum.

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