The Origins of Statics

The Origins of Statics : The Sources of Physical Theory

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If ever a major study of the history of science should have acted like a sudden revolution it is this book, published in two volumes in 1905 and 1906 under the title, Les origines de la statique. Paris, the place of publication, and the Librairie scientifique A. Hermann that brought it be enough of a guarantee to prevent a very different out, could seem to outcome. Without prompting anyone, for some years yet, to follow up the revolutionary vistas which it opened up, Les origines de la statique certainly revolutionized Duhem's remaining ten or so years. He became the single-handed discoverer of a vast new land of Western intellectual history. Half a century later it could still be stated about the suddenly proliferating studies in medieval science that they were so many commentariesonDuhem's countlessfindings and observations. Of course, in 1906, Paris and the intellectual world in general were mesmerized by Bergson's Evolution creatrice, freshly off the press. It was meant to bring about a revolution. Bergson challenged head-on the leading dogma of the times, the idea of mechanistic evolution. He did so by noting, among other things, that to speak of vitalism was at least a roundabout recognition of scientific ignorance about a large number of facts concerning life-processes. He held high the idea of a "vital impetus passing through matter," and indeed through all matter or the universe, an impetus thatcould be detected only through intuitiveknowledge.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 596 pages
  • 162.56 x 236.22 x 43.18mm | 1,020.58g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 1991 ed.
  • XXXV, 596 p.
  • 0792308980
  • 9780792308980

Table of contents

Preface.- I. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) and Archimedes (287-212 B.C.).- II. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519).- III. Jerome Cardan (1501-1576).- IV. The Impossibility of Perpetual Motion.- V. The Alexandrian Sources of Medieval Statics.- 1. The works attributed to Euclid.- 2. The Liber Charastonis, published by Thabit ibn Qurra.- 3. The treatise De canonio.- VI. Statics During the Middle Ages - Jordanus de Nemore.- 1. What do we know about Jordanus de Nemore?.- 2. Some passages from Aristotle's Mechanical Problems.- 3. The Elements of Jordanus on the Demonstration of Weights.- VII. The Statics of the Middle Ages (Continued) - The School of Jordanus.- 1. The Genesis of the Liber Euclidis de ponderibus.- 2. The Peripatetic transformation of the Elementa Jordani.- 3. The Precursor of Leonardo da Vinci. Discovery of the concept of moment. Solution to the problem of the inclined plane.- 4. The Treatise on Weights according to Master Blasius of Parma.- VIII. The Statics of the Middle Ages and Leonardo da Vinci.- 1. The School of Jordanus, the Treatise of Blasius of Parma and the Statics of Leonardo da Vinci.- 2. The Composition of Forces.- 3. The Problem of the Inclined Plane.- IX. The School of Jordanus in the 16th Century - Nicolo Tartaglia.- 1. Nicolo Tartaglia or Tartalea.- 2. Jerome Cardan. - Alexander Piccolomini. -.- X. The Reaction Against Jordanus - Guido Ubaldo - G.B. Benedetti.- 1. Guido Ubaldo, Marquis del Monte (1545-1607).- 2. Giovanbattista Benedetti (1530-1590).- XI. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)..- XII. Simon Stevin (1548-1620)..- XIII. The French Contribution to Statics - Roberval.- 1. Salomon de Caus. The Early Works of F. Mersenne. The Course on Mathematics by Pierre Herigone.- 2. Gilles Persone de Roberval (1602-1675).- XIV. The French Contribution to Statics (Continued) - Rene Descartes (1596-1650).- Preface.- XV. The Mechanical Properties of the Center of Gravity from Albert of Saxony to Evangelista Torricelli.- First Period -From Albert of Saxony to the Copernican Revolution.- 1. Formulation of the Principle of Torricelli.- 2. The concept of the center of gravity in Antiquity.- 3. The propensity of the center of gravity to move towards the center of the Universe. Albert of Saxony (XIVth century).- 4. The theory of the shape of the earth and the oceans, from Aristotle to Albert of Saxony.- 5. The influence of Albert of Saxony in the School: Themon Judaeus, Marsilius of Inghen, Blasius of Parma, Pierre d'Ailly, Giovanni Battista Capuano, Nifo, Gregory Reisch.- 6. The influence of Albert of Saxony and Leonardo da Vinci.- Second Period - From the Copernician Revolution to Torricelli.- 7. The influence of Albert of Saxony and the Copernican revolution.- 8. The influence of Albert of Saxony and of Leonardo da Vinci: Cardan and Guido Ubaldo.- 9. The influence of Albert of Saxony and Leonardo da Vinci: J.-B. Villalpand and Mersenne.- 10. The influence of Leonardo da Vinci on Bernardino Baldi.- 11. The influence of Albert of Saxony and Galileo. In what way did Galileo contribute to the discovery of the Principle of Torricelli?.- XVI. The Doctrine of Albert of Saxony and the Geostaticians.- 1. How the notion of the center of gravity was refined. The influence of Kepler.- 2. How the notion of the center of gravity was refined (continued). The geostaticians.- XVII. The Systematization of the Laws of Statics.- 1. F. Marin Mersenne (1588-1648), Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), F. Zucchi (1586-1670), F. Honore Fabri (1606-1688).- 2. The Traite de Mechanique of Roberval.- 3. John Wallis (1616-1703).- 4. The great treatises of statics from the Jesuit school. F. Dechales (1621-1678), F. Paolo Casati (1617-1707).- 5. The reaction against the methods of virtual velocities and virtual work; Jacques Rohault (1620-1675), F. Pardies (1636-1673). The Treatises of F. Lamy, The De motu animalium of Borelli.- 6. The Parallelogram of Forces and Dynamics. The Observations of Roberval. Varignon (1654-1722). The Letter of F. Lamy. The Principia of Newton. The Neo-Statics of F. Saccheri.- 7. The Letter of Jean Bernoulli to Varignon (1717). The definitive formulation of the Principle of Virtual Displacements.- Note A. On the Identity of Charistion and Heriston.- Note B. Jordanus de Nemore and Roger Bacon.- Note C. On the Various Axioms Permitting the Deduction of the Theory of the Lever.
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Review quote

'This volume is a notable addition to the growing literature on Duhem, and will be found invaluable by a wide range of readers.' Science and Religion Forum Reviews July 1992
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