Logic status of virtual work laws

  • Danilo Capecchi
Part of the Science Networks. Historical Studies book series (SNHS, volume 42)


I use the term law of virtual work to mean any rule of equilibrium that includes both forces and possible displacements of their points of application. In this chapter I will give a more restricted meaning by referring only to the most (modern) advanced formulations and I will consider their logical status, i.e. whether they are principles of an autonomous mechanics or theorems of ‘another’ mechanics. To demonstrate a law, a proposition, means in the broadest sense, to bring it to laws ‘assumed as known’, with a sense that varies with the epistemological frame of reference. Until the development of modern axiomatic theories and their application to physical science by the neopositivists of the XX century, a principle was considered as acceptable if it had an intuitive nature of evidence, possibly established a priori. Currently there is a more liberal view and one does not require evidence of the principles, only that they must have sufficient strength and do not lead to logical contradictions.


Reactive Force Material Point Active Force Virtual Work Virtual Displacement 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danilo Capecchi
    • 1
  1. 1.Università La SapienzaRomeItaly

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