Jesper lützen. Mechanistic images in geometric form: Heinrich Hertz's principles of mechanics

Philosophia Mathematica 16 (1):140-144 (2007)
Philosophers unacquainted with the workings of actual scientific practice are prone to imagine that our best scientific theories deliver univocal representations of the physical world that we can use to calibrate our metaphysics and epistemology. Those few philosophers who are also scientists, like Heinrich Hertz , tend to contest this assumption. As Jesper Lützen relates in his scholarly and engaging book, Hertz's Principles of Mechanics contributed to a lively debate about the content of classical mechanics and what, if anything, this highly successful scientific theory told us about the physical world. Lützen provides an in-depth reconstruction of how Hertz reacted to the foundational problems within the physics of his day and then used these problems to motivate his influential philosophical reflections on the nature of science and scientific theorizing. While giving a thorough portrait of how Hertz brought together science and philosophy, Lützen himself offers an excellent example of the benefits of combining philosophy, the history of science, and the history of mathematics. Lützen convincingly argues that Hertz's most influential innovation was in bringing geometrical concepts to bear on mechanics in a novel and productive fashion. In his preface he motivates his book by noting that most of the work on Hertz's philosophy of science fails to engage with what Hertz does after the Introduction of his Principles. The bulk of Lützen's book, then, concerns the physical and mathematical content of Hertz's image of mechanics. This places certain demands on the reader who is otherwise unacquainted with analytic mechanics, but is sure to repay those who are willing to work carefully through the more technical details of Lützen's reconstruction.1Hertz is well known for his conception of scientific theories as images [Bilder] and for the fact that his preferred image of mechanics takes only space, …
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2008
DOI 10.1093/philmat/nkm037
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,411
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Ricardo Lopes Coelho (2007). A Filosofia da Ciência de Hertz. Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 63 (1/3):239 - 274.
John Preston (2007). Lützen on Hertz's Mechanics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 38 (1):260-267.
Frederik Voetmann Christiansen (2006). Heinrich Hertz's Neo-Kantian Philosophy of Science, and its Development by Harald Høffding. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (1):1 - 20.
John Preston (2006). Janik on Hertz and the Early Wittgenstein. Grazer Philosophische Studien 73 (1):83-95.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

20 ( #232,633 of 1,924,718 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #417,761 of 1,924,718 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.