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Mechanistic Images in Geometric Form – Heinrich Hertz's 'Principles of Mechanics' - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Mechanistic Images in Geometric Form: Heinrich Hertz's 'Principles of Mechanics'

Jesper Lützen


This book examines Heinrich Hertz's posthumously published Principles of Mechanics in its philosophical, physical and mathematical context. In a period of heated debates about the true foundation of physical sciences, Hertz's book was conceived and highly regarded as an original and rigorous foundation for a mechanistic research program. Insisting that a law-like account of nature would require hypothetical unobservables, Hertz viewed physical theories as (mental) images of the world rather than the true design behind the phenomena. This paved the way for the modern conception of a model. Reje ... More

Keywords: Heinrich Hertz, force, hidden masses, rigid connections, forceless mechanics, electromagnetism, image theory, philosophy, physics, geometric form

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2005 Print ISBN-13: 9780198567370
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567370.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jesper Lützen, author
Department of Mathematics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark