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Rapports entre équilibre et dynamique au tournant des 17e et 18e siècles

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This article investigates the reception of Galileo and Descartes’ principles of statics in the works of some French scientists in the second half of seventeenth century, tracing their importance for the genesis of a concept of force. Through an examination of the link between statics and dynamics ‒ especially concerning the phenomena of collision and the motion of falling bodies ‒ it will be shown, first, that these principles of statics actually contributed to the genesis of dynamics; secondly, that the authors examined in this article managed to unify the various fields of mechanics by building a common axiomatic basis, and, thirdly, that there exists a conceptual identity between actions in engines and actions in dynamic phenomena. The evidence brought fourth in this articles challenges the view according to which statics, and more particularly the law of the lever, was an obstacle for the development of dynamics, and particularly for the conceptualization of force.

Affiliations: 1: CNRS – Observatoire de Paris


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