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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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Force-producing models

Force-producing models

(p.274) 26 Force-producing models
Mechanistic Images in Geometric Form


Oxford University Press

The correctness of Heinrich Hertz's image of mechanics is essentially reduced to one question: whether it is possible to construct hidden systems and connections to the tangible systems, such that the total system will obey the fundamental law, or said differently, such that the effect on the tangible system will mimic the forces empirically found in nature. Very few defenders of Hertz's approach to mechanics tried to support his image of mechanics by constructing concealed motions that would account for concrete forces. One serious attempt was made independently and more directly in 1916 by Franz Xaver Paulus, who treated conservative systems with monocyclic hidden masses. Paulus proposed force-producing models that may lend logical support to Hertz's image, but it is also evident that very few physicists would embrace an image of nature based on such artificial mechanisms. It is also rather obvious that it was not such models Hertz had hoped for.

Keywords:   force-producing models, forces, Franz Xaver Paulus, mechanics, connections, image, conservative systems, tangible systems, hidden systems

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