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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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Hertz on the domain of applicability of his mechanics

Hertz on the domain of applicability of his mechanics

(p.263) 25 Hertz on the domain of applicability of his mechanics
Mechanistic Images in Geometric Form


Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses Heinrich Hertz's views concerning the range of applicability of his mechanics, in particular his views about living systems. Hertz discussed these matters in the introduction of his book Principles of Mechanics, after the introduction of conservative forces, and in four sections following the introduction of the fundamental law. These latter sections are entitled: Validity of the Fundamental Law, Limitations of the Fundamental Law, Method of Applying the Fundamental Law, and Approximate Application of the Fundamental Law. This chapter discusses practical applications of Hertz's mechanics, validity and applicability of the fundamental law, constructability of forces, vitalism, teleology, reductionism, and mechanism in 19th-century biology, and applicability and correctness.

Keywords:   mechanics, fundamental law, applicability, vitalism, living systems, biology, teleology, forces, reductionism

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