Beeckman, Descartes and the force of motion

: In this reassessment of Descartes' debt to his mentor Isaac Beeckman, I argue that they share the same basic conception of motion: the force of a body's motion—understood as the force of persisting in that motion, shorn of any connotations of internal cause—is conserved through God's direct action, is proportional to the speed and magnitude of the body, and is gained or lost only through collisions. I contend that this constitutes a fully coherent ontology of motion, original with Beeckman and consistent with his atomism, which, notwithstanding Descartes' own profoundly original contributions to the theory of motion, is basic to all Descartes' further work in natural philosophy
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DOI 10.1353/hph.2007.0001
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