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The Mathematical Intelligencer

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 75–76 | Cite as

Émilie du Châtelet’s Institutions physiques. Über die Rolle von Hypothesen und Prinzipien in der Physik. by Andrea Reichenberger

WIESBADEN: SPRINGER, 2016, VIII + 253 PP., US $49.99, ISBN 978-3-658-12544-8
  • Clara Carus
Book Review
  • 32 Downloads

How do we comprehend the influence of a book which was, although well known and read at its time, ignored and forgotten for centuries in research on the history of philosophy and physics, only then to be rediscovered? We need to follow up on the letters, publications, events, correspondences, and disputes that belong to its editorial past. We need to investigate the inferences drawn from other important works, and vice versa. But we also need to position it within the scope and context of contemporary science. Andrea Reichenberger’s scientific-historical work on Émilie du Châtelet’s Institutions physiques (1740), her major work besides her posthumously published translation of the Principia, does just that, and thus repaints our picture of contemporary scientific debate, especially with regard to the foundations of mechanics. Madame du Châtelet’s Institutions physiques, initially a textbook written for her only son (who probably never read it), was a major contribution to the...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Husserl-Archiv FreiburgAlbert-Ludwigs-UniversitätFreiburgGermany

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