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Mid‐Eighteenth‐Century Materialism

Ann Thomson

in Bodies of Thought: Science, Religion, and the Soul in the Early Enlightenment

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
September 2008
ISBN:
9780199236190
eISBN:
9780191717161
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199236190.003.0006
Subject:
History, History of Ideas, European Modern History

A discussion of mid 18th‐century materialism, as seen mainly in the works of La Mettrie and in Diderot's early works, against the background of contemporary medical and biological thought. It begins ... More


Natural Philosophy and the Republic of Letters

Stephen Gaukroger

in The Collapse of Mechanism and the Rise of Sensibility: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1680-1760

Published in print:
2010
Published Online:
January 2011
ISBN:
9780199594931
eISBN:
9780191595745
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199594931.003.0007
Subject:
Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, General

Three developments are explored in this chapter. The first is the attempt by the French Crown to act as absolute arbiter and guardian of standards by means of the institution of various Académies. ... More


The Evolution and Genius of Language: Debates in the Berlin Academy

Avi Lifschitz

in Language and Enlightenment: The Berlin Debates of the Eighteenth Century

Published in print:
2012
Published Online:
January 2013
ISBN:
9780199661664
eISBN:
9780191751653
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199661664.003.0004
Subject:
History, European Modern History, History of Ideas

After an overview of the history of the Berlin Academy since its foundation in 1700, this chapter outlines the main questions concerning language that were debated in Berlin of the 1750s. Foremost ... More


Early life

I.S. Glass

in Nicolas-Louis De La Caille, Astronomer and Geodesist: South African Astronomical Observatory

Published in print:
2012
Published Online:
January 2013
ISBN:
9780199668403
eISBN:
9780191749315
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199668403.003.0002
Subject:
Physics, History of Physics

La Caille was educated to become a priest at the desire of his father. However, he refused ordination and turned to astronomy. He trained at the Paris Observatory under Jacques Cassini. At the time, ... More


The Man Who Flattened the Earth: Maupertuis and the Sciences in the Enlightenment

Mary Terrall

Published in print:
2002
Published Online:
March 2013
ISBN:
9780226793603
eISBN:
9780226793627
Item type:
book
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226793627.001.0001
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Self-styled adventurer, literary wit, philosopher, and statesman of science, Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (1698–1759) stood at the center of Enlightenment science and culture. Offering an ... More


Geodesics

S. G. Rajeev

in Advanced Mechanics: From Euler's Determinism to Arnold's Chaos

Published in print:
2013
Published Online:
December 2013
ISBN:
9780199670857
eISBN:
9780191775154
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670857.003.0008
Subject:
Physics, Atomic, Laser, and Optical Physics

Riemannian geometry deals with distances of infinitesimally close points. A curve of minimal length is a geodesic. This variational principle happens to have the same structure as that of mechanics, ... More


The Principle of Least Action: From Teleology to Causality

Yemima Ben-Menahem

in Causation in Science

Published in print:
2018
Published Online:
January 2019
ISBN:
9780691174938
eISBN:
9781400889297
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:
10.23943/princeton/9780691174938.003.0006
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

This chapter examines the place of the “least action” principle in the causal family and its role in in modern science's transition from teleology to causality. It first provides an overview of the ... More


Making Life Science Newtonian: Albrecht von Haller’s Self-Fashioning as Natural Scientist

John H. Zammito

in The Gestation of German Biology: Philosophy and Physiology from Stahl to Schelling

Published in print:
2017
Published Online:
May 2018
ISBN:
9780226520797
eISBN:
9780226520827
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226520827.003.0003
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Albrecht von Haller became the most important German life-scientist of the eighteenth century. Tracing his intellectual self-fashioning therefore provides crucial insight into the gestation of ... More


French Vital Materialism

John H. Zammito

in The Gestation of German Biology: Philosophy and Physiology from Stahl to Schelling

Published in print:
2017
Published Online:
May 2018
ISBN:
9780226520797
eISBN:
9780226520827
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226520827.003.0005
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

The stimulus of French vital materialism was decisive in provoking key developments in German life-science. The paradigm shift associated with the ideas of Buffon, Maupertuis, Diderot and La Mettrie ... More


Taking Up the French Challenge: The German Response

John H. Zammito

in The Gestation of German Biology: Philosophy and Physiology from Stahl to Schelling

Published in print:
2017
Published Online:
May 2018
ISBN:
9780226520797
eISBN:
9780226520827
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226520827.003.0006
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

At mid-century Germans were confronted directly with French vital materialism by the presence in Berlin of Maupertuis and La Mettrie and by the translation of Buffon’s Histoire naturelle into German. ... More


The Order and Organization of Life

Jonathan Sheehan and Dror Wahrman

in Invisible Hands: Self-Organization in the Eighteenth Century

Published in print:
2015
Published Online:
January 2016
ISBN:
9780226752051
eISBN:
9780226233741
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226233741.003.0004
Subject:
History, European Modern History

The languages of self-organization sustained the eighteenth-century sciences of life. Using them, thinkers such as Buffon, Diderot, Blumenbach, Maupertuis, and la Mettrie grappled with fraught and ... More


Introduction: Provincializing Newton, or Building in the Ruins of a Grand Narrative of Modernity1

in The Newton Wars and the Beginning of the French Enlightenment

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
March 2013
ISBN:
9780226749457
eISBN:
9780226749471
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226749471.003.0001
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

In 1687, the year Isaac Newton's Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica appeared, few Frenchmen even knew who the author was and even fewer actually read the book. Yet a century later he and ... More


The Invention of French Newtonianism: Maupertuis and Voltaire

in The Newton Wars and the Beginning of the French Enlightenment

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
March 2013
ISBN:
9780226749457
eISBN:
9780226749471
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226749471.003.0005
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis announced his Newtonianism from the highest levels of the French scientific establishment. Voltaire, by contrast, proclaimed his from within the public space of the ... More


A French Culture War: The Battle over Newtonianism

in The Newton Wars and the Beginning of the French Enlightenment

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
March 2013
ISBN:
9780226749457
eISBN:
9780226749471
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226749471.003.0007
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

By 1738, all the key theaters of the Newton wars had opened and were hot with conflict. Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis' Discourse on the Different Figures of the Planets and the discussions of ... More


Leibnizianism and the Solidification of the French Enlightenment

in The Newton Wars and the Beginning of the French Enlightenment

Published in print:
2008
Published Online:
March 2013
ISBN:
9780226749457
eISBN:
9780226749471
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226749471.003.0008
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

By 1740, the Newton wars in France were in full swing. Voltaire was at the center of the struggle, and one theater of combat was the campaign, waged by him and the Marquise du Châtelet, to respond to ... More


Portrait of a Man of Science

in The Man Who Flattened the Earth: Maupertuis and the Sciences in the Enlightenment

Published in print:
2002
Published Online:
March 2013
ISBN:
9780226793603
eISBN:
9780226793627
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226793627.003.0001
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis sat for his portrait. The finished picture represented this rather eccentric man of science to the cosmopolitan world of letters and to the smaller world of his ... More


The Polemical Aftermath of the Lapland Expedition

in The Man Who Flattened the Earth: Maupertuis and the Sciences in the Enlightenment

Published in print:
2002
Published Online:
March 2013
ISBN:
9780226793603
eISBN:
9780226793627
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226793627.003.0005
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Different expeditions produced irreconcilable numbers, which astronomers and mathematicians deployed for their own ends, both offensively and defensively. The polemics crossed back and forth over the ... More


Beyond Newton and on to Berlin

in The Man Who Flattened the Earth: Maupertuis and the Sciences in the Enlightenment

Published in print:
2002
Published Online:
March 2013
ISBN:
9780226793603
eISBN:
9780226793627
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226793627.003.0006
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

The narrative of this story next moves to the efforts of Maupertuis to establish a name for himself as more than a Newtonian, as an original thinker in his own right. He turned to statics, optics, ... More


Toward a Science of Living Things

in The Man Who Flattened the Earth: Maupertuis and the Sciences in the Enlightenment

Published in print:
2002
Published Online:
March 2013
ISBN:
9780226793603
eISBN:
9780226793627
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226793627.003.0007
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Questions about the relation of soul to body, or mind to matter, and the definition of life itself, provided fertile ground for cultivating an identity as a savant and as a man of the world. ... More


The Berlin Academy of Sciences

in The Man Who Flattened the Earth: Maupertuis and the Sciences in the Enlightenment

Published in print:
2002
Published Online:
March 2013
ISBN:
9780226793603
eISBN:
9780226793627
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226793627.003.0008
Subject:
History, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

This chapter explores the ideological and political bases of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, and the ways in which Maupertuis adapted to the cultural setting in Berlin, which was quite different from ... More


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