Leibnizianism and the Solidification of the French Enlightenment

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:
Leibnizianism and the Solidification of the French Enlightenment

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By 1740, the Newton wars in France were in full swing. Voltaire was at the center of the struggle, and one theater of combat was the campaign, waged by him and the Marquise du Châtelet, to respond to his critics while stabilizing his public perception as a philosophe. However, du Châtelet's agendas did not always conform with Voltaire's, especially as she began to chart her own philosophical career. Against each as well stood a host of different opponents. These included Cartesians inside and outside the Paris Academy, and journalists who saw in these battles anything but a serious scientific debate. Another Newtonian academician, Georges-Louis Le Clerc, the future Comte de Buffon, published his translation of Vegetable staticks, or An account of some statical experiments on the sap of plants, a thoroughgoing illustration of Newtonian experimental philosophy. This chapter also looks at Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis and his public radicalism, the relationship between Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Leibnizianism in eighteenth-century France, and the solidification of Enlightenment Newtonianism after 1745.

Keywords: Newton wars; France; Voltaire; Comte de Buffon; Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis; public radicalism; Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz; Leibnizianism; Enlightenment; Newtonianism

Chapter.  32674 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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