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Modes Of Explanation In The Aristotelian Mechanical Problems

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Chapter Summary

François De Gandt expressed doubt that the connection between Physics VII and Mechanical Problems (MP) is really very strong. De Gandt's analysis is measured and perspicuous, providing a new and insightful perspective on the scholarly tradition that has sought a quantifiable Aristotelian dynamics to compare to modern dynamics. This chapter takes somewhat different tack from De Gandt, however, concerning a theme treated in the course of his discussion of the decomposition of circular motion, namely the interplay of the geometric and the dynamic features of the explanation of the lever principle. Grasping the prevalence of kinematics in MP 1 makes clearer, however, that the movement of thought in antiquity from wonder to science did not mean a shedding of the moving radius principle as an explanation. This principle was scientifically fruitful, taken as whole and without decomposition into dynamic components of a theoretical nature.

Keywords: Aristotelian dynamics; circular motion; François De Gandt; kinematics; lever principle; mechanical problems (MP); Physics VII



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