Skip to content
Open global navigation

Cambridge University Press

AcademicLocation selectorSearch toggleMain navigation toggle

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist

Philosophy and the Foundations of Dynamics

$29.99 (P)

  • Date Published: January 2013
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521716307

$29.99 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Although now replaced by more modern theories, classical mechanics remains a core foundational element of physical theory. From its inception, the theory of dynamics has been riddled with conceptual issues and differing philosophical interpretations and throughout its long historical development, it has shown subtle conceptual refinement. The interpretive program for the theory has also shown deep evolutionary change over time. Lawrence Sklar discusses crucial issues in the central theory from which contemporary foundational theories are derived and shows how some core issues (the nature of force, the place of absolute reference frames) have nevertheless remained deep puzzles despite the increasingly sophisticated understanding of the theory which has been acquired over time. His book will be of great interest to philosophers of science, philosophers in general and physicists concerned with foundational interpretive issues in their field.

    • Extensive treatment of the philosophical issues in dynamics, including a discussion on the crucial issues in the central theory from which contemporary foundational theories are derived
    • Shows how a single theory and its understanding can indicate deep evolutionary changes over time
    • Places dynamics within the context of general physical theories
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "This work could be as influential in the 21st century as Ernst Mach's Die Mechanik (1901) was in the 20th, both in physics and philosophy … Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers/faculty."
    P. D. Skiff, Choice

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521716307
    • length: 279 pages
    • dimensions: 247 x 174 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The prehistory of classical dynamics
    3. The astronomical revolution
    4. Precursors to Newtonian dynamics
    5. The Newtonian synthesis
    6. Philosophical aspects of the Newtonian synthesis
    7. The history of statics
    8. The development of dynamics after Newton
    9. The 'Newtonian' approach after Newton
    10. From virtual work to Lagrange's equation
    11. Extremal principles
    12. Some philosophical reflections on explanation and theory
    13. Conservation principles
    14. Hamilton's equations
    15. Canonical transformations, optical analogies and algebraic structures
    16. The search for new foundations
    17. New directions in the applications of dynamics
    18. Spacetime formulations of Newtonian dynamics
    19. Formalizations: mass and force
    20. Relationist dynamics
    21. Modes of explanation
    22. Retrospective and conclusions.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Philosophy of Physics
  • Author

    Lawrence Sklar, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    Lawrence Sklar is the Carl G. Hempel and William K. Frankena Distinguished University Professor at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Space, Time and Spacetime (1992), Philosophy of Physics (1992), Physics of Chance (Cambridge University Press, 1995) and Theory and Truth (2000).

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Back to top

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.

Cancel Delete

Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.