An Introduction: The Historical-Conceptual Reference Frame

  • Paolo Bussotti
Part of the Science Networks. Historical Studies book series (SNHS, volume 52)


Leibniz dealt with planetary theory in three papers written between 1689 and 1706. The first paper, titled Tentamen de Motuum Coelestium Causis, is the only one which was published—in the Acta Eruditorum Lipsiensium, 1689—during Leibniz’s lifetime. In the Tentamen Leibniz tried to construct a planetary theory based on a refinement and specification of the vortex theory. In particular, he attempted to supply a series of mathematical considerations, which allowed him to obtain (1) Kepler’s area law; (2) the inverse square law; (3) ellipticity of the planetary orbits, without resorting to the Newtonian concept of force. Leibniz developed a second version (zweite Bearbeitung) of the Tentamen (see note 1), which was not published at that time, but which presents important specifications, in particular as to: (a) the structure and history of vortex theory; (b) the nature of gravity; (c) the completion of mathematical proofs which were only outlined in the published version.


Planetary Orbit Planetary Motion Important Specification Mathematical Consideration Vortex Theory 
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paolo Bussotti
    • 1
  1. 1.University of UdineUdineItaly

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