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The Theory of Hydrostatics and Pneumatics

  • Andrea Strazzoni
Chapter
Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 51)

Abstract

In this chapter I focus on De Volder’s treatment of hydrostatics, i.e. the core of his teaching activities at Leiden experimental theatre. The chapter is devoted to discussion of De Volder’s attempt to combine two main models in hydrostatics. First, the Cartesian – which Descartes expounded through his theory of gravity – according to which bodies (either solid or fluid) provided with the same specific weight constantly nullify their reciprocal pressure, so that, for instance, there is no increasing pressure in water. Second, the Archimedean model (assumed by Boyle) according to which the conditions of the floatation of bodies are determined by the different pressures exerted within a fluid. I show that these models are ultimately inconsistent with each other, so that in refraining from publishing his disputations, De Volder might have been partially justified by this problem. Moreover, I consider De Volder’s application of such models to the explanation of the effects of the pressure of air, and its partial overcoming by his assuming, as a key factor determining pneumatic phenomena, the idea of the elasticity of air. This was a notion that De Volder also applied to physiology, and which testifies to his assumption of the Boyle-Mariotte law.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Strazzoni
    • 1
  1. 1.Gotha Research Centre of the University of ErfurtGothaGermany

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