Chapter

Newton without Newtonianism

in The Newton Wars and the Beginning of the French Enlightenment

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780226749457
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226749471 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226749471.003.0002
Newton without Newtonianism

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Crucial to the later emergence of the Newton wars in France was the reconfiguration of the institutional and cultural field that had originally mediated French discussion of Isaac Newton's science. From the moment of its appearance in 1687, Newton's Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica shaped French scientific discussions in important ways. A combination of institutional and intellectual alignments converged to produce this initial outcome. Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle was already at the center of French public science when Jean-Jacques Dortous de Mairan arrived. He had been there since the late 1680s, and René Antoine de Réaumur joined him there after 1715. Dortous de Mairan completed the trio when he ascended to academic prominence in the early 1720s. More than anything else, the emergence of Dortous de Mairan illustrates well the character that French academic science had acquired on the eve of the eruption of the Newton wars after 1728.

Keywords: science; France; Isaac Newton; Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica; Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle; Jean-Jacques Dortous de Mairan; René Antoine de Réaumur; Newton wars

Chapter.  22438 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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