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Hans Christian ØrstedReading Nature's Mind$
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Dan Ch. Christensen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199669264

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669264.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 August 2019

| 1798–9 | 1798–9 Doctoral Thesis on the Dynamical System

| 1798–9 | 1798–9 Doctoral Thesis on the Dynamical System

Chapter:
(p.66) 8 | 1798–9 Doctoral Thesis on the Dynamical System
Source:
Hans Christian Ørsted
Author(s):

Dan C. Christensen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669264.003.0008

Ch 8 is an analysis of Ørsted's doctoral thesis, which is a revised version (in Latin) of his review of Hauch's textbook. The ‘architecture’ of the thesis follows Kant's Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, which is basically a critical survey of Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. Ørsted, however, adheres even more meticulously to Kant's epistemological scheme, which he calls ‘Ariadne's Clew’, than Kant himself. In conclusion he agrees with Kant that Newton's mechanical concepts, although they are conducive to mathematical treatment if subsumed under the quantitative category as matter, forces per se defy mathematization, because they are immeasurable and uncountable. Consequently, we are left with the paradox that corpuscular theory makes sense in mathematical terms, but is epistemologically flawed, while Kant's (and Ørsted's) alternative, dynamical theory, does make sense epistemologically, but lacks the quantifiable concepts necessary for constituting equations and thus the precondition of becoming scientific.

Keywords:   Ørsted's doctoral thesis, Kant's metaphysics of science, Ariadne's Clew, corpuscular theory, dynamical theory, mathematization

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