Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Before VoltaireThe French Origins of "Newtonian" Mechanics, 1680-1715$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

J.B. Shank

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226509297

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226509327.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Managing toward Consensus

Managing toward Consensus

Bignon, Fontenelle, and the Creation of the Pax Analytica in France

(p.298) Chapter 10 Managing toward Consensus
Before Voltaire

J.B. Shank

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 10 shows how the battle over analytical mechanics was concluded in favor of Varignon and his science, and how it became an accepted and established academic science in France largely through the discursive management of Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle. Exploiting the new role for the Perpetual Secretary created by the 1699 academy reform, Fontenelle worked to secure the cohesion of the academy in a way that put analytical mechanics at its center. His administrative collaborations with Jean-Paul Bignon are examined, as are the demographic shifts in the academy that supported this outcome. But most important, the chapter argues, was Fontenelle's exploitation of his new role as official public spokesman for royal academic science to secure a settlement favorable to analytical mechanics. Fontenelle's own Malebranchian sentiments in favor of the new science were one important component, but just as crucial, the chapter argues, was Fontenelle's use of the annual publication program of the academy to create a discursive foundation supporting analytical mechanics and marginalizing its critics. Grounded upon Fontenelle's official annual histories, public orations, and management of public academic discourse, analytical mechanics became after 1710 an unquestioned feature of French academic science for the remainder of the century.

Keywords:   Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, Histoire et Mémoires de l'Académie Royale des Science, Jean-Paul Bignon, Joseph Saurin, éloges, "On the Utility of Mathematics for the Sciences"

Chicago 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.