Lützen, Jesper

Mechanistic Images in Geometric Form : Heinrich Hertz's 'Principles of Mechanics'

Lützen, Jesper - Mechanistic Images in Geometric Form : Heinrich Hertz's 'Principles of Mechanics', e-kirja


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ISBN: 9780191524349

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This book presents an analysis of Heinrich Hertz's posthumously published 'Principles of Mechanics' in its philosophical, physical and mathematical context. It is the first book to comprehensively examine Hertz's important ideas on mechanics and the author draws on the original manuscripts to reveal the creative process of Hertz throughout the writing of his book. - ;This book gives an analysis of Hertz's posthumously published Principles of Mechanics in its philosophical, physical and mathematical context. In a period of heated debates about the true foundation of physical sciences, Hertz's book was conceived and highly regarded as an original and rigorous foundation for a mechanistic research program. Insisting that a law-like account of nature would require hypothetical unobservables, Hertz viewed physical theories as (mental) images
of the world rather than the true design behind the phenomena. This paved the way for the modern conception of a model. Rejecting the concept of force as a coherent basic notion of physics he built his mechanics on hidden masses (the ether) and rigid connections, and formulated it as a new differential
geometric language.

Recently many philosophers have studied Hertz's image theory and historians of physics have discussed his forceless mechanics. The present book shows how these aspects, as well as the hitherto overlooked mathematical aspects, form an integrated whole which is closely connected to the mechanistic world view of the time and which is a natural continuation of Hertz's earlier research on electromagnetism. Therefore it is also a case study of the strong interactions between philosophy, physics and
mathematics. Moreover, the book presents an analysis of the genesis of many of the central elements of Hertz's mechanics based on his manuscripts and drafts. Hertz's research program was cut short by the advent of relativity theory but its image theory influenced many philosophers as well as some
physicists and mathematicians and its geometric form had a lasting influence on advanced expositions of mechanics. - ;...the book is very well-written and well-presented...the book is the best thing ever written on Hertz's mechanics and, as such, is strongly recommended to all philosophers and historians of science. J. Preston, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 38 (2007) 260-267. - ;... very clearly written and well organised. - Jeremy Gray, Open University;... interesting, thorough, well-documented and well-presented. - Leo Corry, Tel Aviv University

Avainsanat: SCIENCE / General SCI000000

Oxford University Press
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