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The Philosophy of the Young KantThe Precritical Project$
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Martin Schönfeld

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195132182

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195132181.001.0001

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o n e The Vis Viva Debate Kant's Starting Point

o n e The Vis Viva Debate Kant's Starting Point

Chapter:
(p.17) O N E
Source:
The Philosophy of the Young Kant
Author(s):

Martin Schönfeld (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195132181.003.0002

This chapter explores the context of Kant’s first and original puzzle: what actually is force? It is an account of the debate over kinetic energy (Leibniz’s “living force” or vis viva) and the historical transition of philosophy of nature to physics. Section 1 summarizes the explorations of energy and force from Galileo to Newton. Section 2 examines the fate and frustrations of the debate over the nature and measurement of dynamic phenomena, a quarrel first between Leibniz and the Cartesians, and next among Leibnizians, Cartesians, and Newtonians. Section 3 describes the historical outcome of the debate-the dual confirmation of the quantities at issue (Descartes’s momentum, and Leibniz’s energy) by d’Alembert and Euler, and their joint integration in Newtonian mechanics.

Keywords:   Galileo, Descartes, Leibniz, Chatelet, Huygens, Newton, Euler, Alembert, vis viva, living force

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