Article ID: CBB345436437

Evaluating John Theophilus Desaguliers' Newtonianism: The Case of Waterwheel Knowledge in a Course of Experimental Philosophy (2020)


John Theophilus Desaguliers (1683–1744) was a French-born English Huguenot who made his name as a public lecturer in London and a demonstrator at the Royal Society, writing a very popular introduction to Isaac Newton's natural philosophy, the two-volume A course of experimental philosophy (1734–1744). This paper looks at the influence of three French natural philosophers, Edme Mariotte (1620–1684), Antoine Parent (1666–1716) and Bernard Forest de Bélidor (1698–1761), on the account of waterwheel functioning in the second volume of that work. The aim of the paper is to show that, although Desaguliers demonstrated a commitment to Newton's work, his own natural philosophical objectives also led him to borrow ideas from natural philosophers outside Newton's direct sphere of influence. To do this I shall give an account of what Desaguliers appropriated from Newton's Principia, how it fitted in with his own project and how he also made use of other natural philosophers' theories in his discussion of fluid mechanics. This will hopefully result in a more nuanced conception of Desaguliers' ‘Newtonianism’ that takes into account the diverse sources and influences in his work.

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Authors & Contributors
Ducheyne, Steffen
Traetta, Luigi
Fara, Patricia
Eckert, Michael
Wigelsworth, Jeffrey Robert
Dijksterhuis, Fokko Jan
International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology
History of Science
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Perspectives on Science
Quaderns d'Història de l'Enginyeria
Continuum International Publishing Group
Natural philosophy
Hydraulic engineering
Mines and mining
Newton, Isaac
Desaguliers, John Theophilus
Euler, Leonhard
Tollett, Elizabeth
Woodward, John
Gravesande, Willem Jakob van's
Time Periods
18th century
17th century
Early modern
Great Britain
London (England)
Royal Society of London
Royal Botanical Society, London

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