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Physics and NecessityRationalist Pursuits from the Cartesian Past to the Quantum Present$
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Olivier Darrigol

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712886

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712886.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

The Necessity of Classical Mechanics

The Necessity of Classical Mechanics

Chapter:
(p.47) 2 The Necessity of Classical Mechanics
Source:
Physics and Necessity
Author(s):

Olivier Darrigol

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712886.003.0002

This chapter combines some assumptions of the rationalist founders of mechanics (the impossibility of perpetual motion, the causal relation between force and motion, the relativity principle, and what I call the secularity principle) with the definitions of four classes of ideal mechanical systems (connected systems, particles acting at a distance, continuous media, colliding particles) in order to derive the laws of equilibrium and motion of these systems. The usual laws of mechanics are retrieved in each case. The conclusion is that classical mechanics is the only theory of motion complying with a few natural requirements on the comprehensibility of motion at the macroscopic scale.

Keywords:   foundations of mechanics, perpetual motion, Newton’s laws, principle of virtual work, d’Alembert’s principle, connected systems, collisions, continuous media, relativity principle

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