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

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
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:
Background image of page 1
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

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....
View Full Document

Ask a homework question - tutors are online