Article ID: CBB462268539

Hertz's Mechanics and a unitary notion of force (2021)


Heinrich Hertz dedicated the last four years of his life to a systematic reformulation of mechanics. One of the main issues that troubled Hertz in the customary formulation of mechanics was a ‘logical obscurity’ in the notion of force. However, it is unclear what this logical obscurity was, hence it is unclear how Hertz took himself to have avoided it. In this paper, I argue that a subtle ambiguity in Newton's original laws of motion lay at the basis of Hertz's concerns; an ambiguity which led to the development of two slightly different notions of force. I then show how Hertz avoided this ambiguity by deriving a unitary notion of force, thus dispelling the obscurity that lurked in the customary representation of mechanics.

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Authors & Contributors
Lützen, Jesper
Aleman Berenguer, Rafael Andrés
Bascelli, Tiziana
Bertoloni Meli, Domenico
Bloem, Annelies
Celeyrette, Jean
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Journal of the History of Ideas
Llull: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas
Monist: An International Quarterly Journal of General Philosophical Inquiry
Oxford University Press
Motion (physical)
Natural laws
Hertz, Heinrich Rudolph
Descartes, René
Newton, Isaac
Bradwardine, Thomas
Galilei, Galileo
Mach, Ernst
Time Periods
19th century
17th century
18th century
20th century, early
16th century

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