The Mechanisation of Natural Philosophy is devoted to various aspects of the transformation of natural philosophy during the 16th and 17th centuries that is usually described as mechanical philosophy .
Drawing the border between the old Aristotelianism and the « new » mechanical philosophy faces historians with a delicate task, if not an impossible mission. There were many natural philosophers who actually crossed the border between the two worlds, and, inside each of these worlds, there was a vast spectrum of doctrines, arguments and intellectual practices. The expression mechanical philosophy is burdened with ambiguities. It may refer to at least three different enterprises: a description of nature in mathematical terms; the comparison of natural phenomena to existing or imaginary machines; the use in natural philosophy of mechanical analogies, i.e. analogies conceived in terms of matter and motion alone.However mechanical philosophy is defined, its ambition was greater than its real successes. There were few mathematisations of phenomena. The machines of mechanical philosophers were not only imaginary, but had little to do with the machines of mecanicians. In most of the natural sciences, analogies in terms of matter and motion alone failed to provide satisfactory accounts of phenomena.By the same authors: Mechanics and Natural Philosophy before the Scientific Revolution (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 254).
Preface.- List of Contributors.-
Daniel Garber and Sophie Roux.-
1. The Construction of Historical Categories
Remarks on the Pre-History of the Mechanical Philosophy
Daniel Garber.- How Bacon Became Baconian
An Empire Divided: French Natural Philosophy (1670–1690)
2. Matter, Motion, Physics and Mathematics
Matter and Form in Sixteenth-Century Spain: Some Case Studies
Victor Navarro Brotons.-
The Isomorphism of Space, Time and Matter in Seventeenth-Century Natural Philosophy
Carla Rita Palmerino.-
Beeckman, Descartes and Physico-mathematics
Frédéric de Buzon.-
Between Mathematics and Experimental Philosophy: Hydrostatics in Scotland about 1700
3. Mechanical Philosophy Applied
From a Metaphysical to a Scientific Object: Mechanizing Light in Galilean Science
Causation in Descartes’ Les Météores and Late Renaissance Aristotelian Meteorology
Descartes’ Healthy Machines and the Human Exception
Mechanism and Surgery: Dionis' Anatomy (1690)
Du Clos and the Mechanization of Chemical Philosophy
Bibliography.- Author Index.