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Before Voltaire – The French Origins of "Newtonian" Mechanics, 1680-1715 - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Before Voltaire: The French Origins of "Newtonian" Mechanics, 1680-1715

J.B. Shank


A pervasive understanding holds that the foundation of calculus-based mathematical physics was laid by Issac Newton in his epochal treatise Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica of 1687. In this historical understanding, what we now call "classical Newtonian mechanics" was born from Newton's work accomplished in his Principia, and was disseminated and digested throughout Enlightenment Europe as a result of the reception of this book. Before Voltaire challenges this understanding by demonstrating the historical gap separating Newton's work in the Principia from the calculus-based mathema ... More

Keywords: Issac Newton, Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica, Newtonian mechanics, rational mechanics, analytical mechanics, infinitesimal calculus, mathematical physics, Académie Royale des Sciences, Old Regime France, Enlightenment science

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780226509297
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226509327.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

J.B. Shank, author
University of Minnesota