Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Collapse of Mechanism and the Rise of SensibilityScience and the Shaping of Modernity, 1680-1760$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Stephen Gaukroger

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199594931

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199594931.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. 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 August 2020

The Fortunes of a Mechanical Model for Natural Philosophy

The Fortunes of a Mechanical Model for Natural Philosophy

(p.293) 8 The Fortunes of a Mechanical Model for Natural Philosophy
The Collapse of Mechanism and the Rise of Sensibility

Stephen Gaukroger (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The basic assumption of ‘rational mechanics’ was that all natural philosophy was mechanics, and that, as mechanics was pursued with greater and greater detail and sophistication, the rest of natural philosophy would fall into place around it. The guiding idea, from Varignon and Hermann at the beginning of the eighteenth century, up to d'Alembert and Euler in mid‐century, was that mechanics could be pursued independently of other natural‐philosophical considerations, that it was the one absolutely secure physical discipline because of its mathematical (and effectively a priori) standing. The chapter explores the rational mechanics of d'Alembert and Euler, and questions whether what was proposed in fact had an a priori standing, and whether it was plausible to assume that recalcitrant phenomena such as the refraction of light, the behaviour of fluids, and gravitation could be accounted for by mechanics.

Keywords:   rational mechanics, Pierre Varignon, Jean d'Alembert, Leonhard Euler, force, gravity, refraction

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .