SR-25-mechanical phil(2)

SR-25-mechanical phil(2) - • Motion of the planets a...

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The Mechanical Philosophy Descartes regarded the physical world as just dead rocks , to be understood as one would a mechanical clock: simply see how its parts fit together and move. He did not claim to find the laws of motion empirically, but deduced them by pure reason: Inertia : a particle will continue to move in a straight line at a steady speed until and unless it is hit. Conservation of motion: the total quantity of motion is the same before and after any collision. Laws of impact : the effects of collisions follow definite rules (though Descartes’s turned out to be mostly wrong). Descartes devised hypothetical mechanisms to explain:
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Unformatted text preview: • Motion of the planets: a giant whirlpool of tiny aether particles carries all of the planets around Sun; a smaller vortex around Earth pushes bodies down. • Heat: the result of the rapid bouncing around of tiny particles. • Magnetism: flow of screw-shaped particles through threaded channels in magnets and the Earth pushes and aligns magnets and bits of iron. Variants forms of the mechanical philosophy became enormously influential in mid-17th century; even those who did not follow Descartes broader philosophy sought purely mechanical explanations for physical phenomena....
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