Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences

Living Edition
| Editors: Dana Jalobeanu, Charles T. Wolfe

Mechanism: Mathematical Laws

  • Tzuchien ThoEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-20791-9_147-1

Introduction: The Irony of Mathematical Mechanical Laws

The subject of this entry is the emergence of mathematical laws in the development of mechanistic methodology within natural philosophy during the early modern period. The specificity of the emergence of mathematical laws in mechanics should be immediately addressed because of the ambiguity between this and the more general issue of the so-called mathematization of nature that has been used to characterize the essence of the “scientific revolution” during sixteenth and seventeenth century European history of science. To capture the problem of this ambiguity, we note that the very idea of the “laws of nature” is rooted in a very specific idea of Deus legislator pertaining to nature (Daston and Stolleis 2008). Those who identified with the label of “mechanical philosophy” and other close allies to the project often employed the idea and terminology of natural “laws” but few of them ventured into giving mathematical descriptions of...

Related Topics

Reductionism Natural laws Platonism Natural theology Natural history Mathematization of nature Descartes’s Mechanical Philosophy Materialism Occasionalism Atomism Perpetual machines Rational mechanics Structural mechanics Dynamics Mechanical curves 
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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BristolBristolUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Delphine Bellis
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of PhilosophyPaul Valéry UniversityMontpellier cedex 5France