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    MACHAMER, PETER MCGUIRE, J. E. and KOCHIRAS, HYLARIE 2012. NEWTON AND THE MECHANICAL PHILOSOPHY: GRAVITATION AS THE BALANCE OF THE HEAVENS. The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 50, Issue. 3, p. 370.

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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: March 2008

26 - Mechanics

from Part III - Dividing the Study of Nature
Summary
This chapter shows that mechanics and natural philosophy differed widely intellectually, institutionally, and socially in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It also examines the impact of the recovery of ancient and medieval learning both in what was understood to belong to mechanics proper and in those portions of natural philosophy dealing with motion. The chapter identifies four main traditions, including pseudo-Aristotle, Archimedes, Alexandria, and the science of weights. The chapter presents the main works by some of the leading figures in the sixteenth century such as Tartaglia and Benedetti, dal Monte, and Stevin. Galileo's main work on motion and mechanics falls into three periods: at Pisa, Padua, and Florence. René Descartes and Isaac Newton implicitly used it with cosmological implications, but the science of waters remained largely a technical matter rooted in Italy. Descartes' work, together with some of Galileo's passages on the constitution of matter and Gassendi's Christianized atomism, constitute the pillars of the so-called mechanical philosophy.
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