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Mechanistic Images in Geometric FormHeinrich Hertz's 'Principles of Mechanics'$
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Jesper Lützen

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198567370

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567370.001.0001

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Kantianism. A-priori and empirical elements of images

Kantianism. A-priori and empirical elements of images

(p.119) 10 Kantianism. A-priori and empirical elements of images
Mechanistic Images in Geometric Form


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines some unmistakably Kantian features of Heinrich Hertz's Principles of Mechanics and argues that Hertz initially took over a widespread Kantian distinction between an a-priori kinematics and an empirical dynamics. The properties of permissibility, correctness, and appropriateness were somehow interconnected in Hertz's discussion of the three images of mechanics. Still, he insisted that in a scientific representation of an image one, should distinguish clearly between them. Immanuel Kant had argued that in addition to a-priori intuitions of time and space, a rational mathematical science of nature requires a basic purely philosophical analysis of the concept of matter. This ‘metaphysics of corporeal nature’ should not be based on any particular experience but only on the empirical notion of matter as a concept of nature pertaining to the pure intuitions of time and space. When combined with the empirical laws of nature it would lead to the science of physics.

Keywords:   Immanuel Kant, images, kinematics, dynamics, permissibility, correctness, appropriateness, mechanics, metaphysics

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