Lecture 10 - Mechanical Philosophy & The Royal Society Flashcards Preview

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1

Mechanical Philosophy?

Everything is matter in motion
->just things colliding
->give me initial conditions, and I'll know everything

No occult forces (action @ distance)
->wtf is Astrology? Loses credibility
->You can't patch up the knife to heal a wound
No Aristotelean tendencies
->no final cause, inherent properties

Atoms and "Corpuscles"
->corpuscles are non-uniform, weird shapes
->hooks, scews...

2

Roots of Mech Phil

Bunch of goons until Pierre Gassendi, Descartes.

1) Democritus with the atom.

2) Epicurius: World is eternal, meaningless collisions
->doesn't matter what you do
->might as well enjoy!

3) Lucretius:
->the famous one who spread other's ideas

No guiding force, all random. Eternal, always will/have collided.

3

Pierre Gassendi

First to make M.P. palatable to Christians
->could not have become widespread without him

1) God started it, not eternal
2) God guides the collisions

4

Rene Descartes

Everything is matter in motion

Used different shaped particles
->magnetism is tiny screws, filling tiny holes
->repulsion when you put wrong screws, wrong holes

Anti-Aristotelean M.P., wanted to replace Arist
->main difference, no final cause
->matter inert
->ONLY EFFICIENT CAUSES
->and the cause is always "matter bumped into matter"

5

Mathematization of Nature?

Arist separated Math and N.P.
->but now people do both (+ recall Archimedes)

Galileo: 2 New Sciences
->describes velocity, geometric gravity -> parabola

Boyle: Particles in Gas
->mechanical explanation, + math for laws of nature
->less Volume means more collisions means Pressure

6

Sides of the Vacuum Debate? Example arguments and supporters of each?

World full of particles (PLENISM) or empty space between? (VACUISM)

Descartes: Plenist
->you can change matter all you want, you can't remove its 3D property
->space is inherent to matter
->space can't exist without matter
->vacuums impossible
->world explained with vortices
->when something moves, another rushes to fill in
->planets just sit in vortices, no circular requirement


Torricelli: Vacuuism
->turn mercury upside down in bowl of mercury
->bubble at top, air couldn't have gotten through
->so proof of vacuum!

Boyle & Hooke: Vacuuism
->creates a vacuum, close enough to extinguish fire and kill animals

7

Experimental Philosophy

Galileo had many thought experiments
->unclear how many are theoretical vs actually done

Example from 2 New Sciences:
1 ->drop 2 balls of same material, 10 and 1 pounds
->aristotle says bigger = faster
->so if I tie them together, does it fall as 11, 10, or 1?
2 ->earth can move around sun without us flying off
->it's just like dropping a ball on a moving boat
->we see it fall straight, shore sees it move in X

He does do important experiments too though
->rolls balls down planes; distance is time squared
->puts together with idea X, Y indy

8

Francis Bacon

FATHER OF EMPRICISM, EXPERIMENTAL PHILOSOPHY
->empiricism: everything comes from empirical proof
->need to sense everything
Published 1000 experiments
-But bacon's "Experiment" ~= "Experience"
->"I know a guy who didn't eat for days, and survived by smelling food" is an experiment
->do fear and shame spread?

THE NEW ATLANTIS:
->utopia with the most amazing experiments
->live forever, modify/transform animals....
->lists things possible with experiments
->alter features, prolong life, medicine...
->just dedicate yourself to experiments, and it'll all come true!

9

The Royal Society

Many experimentalist groups in London ~1640
->discuss world's experiments
->met at pubs, apartments...
->just talk science, no politics

1640-1650 turmoil, executes own king
->no leader for decade
1660 Restoration of Monarchy
->how to set up gov't? theology?

John Wallis
->asked society to put away theology, just science
->reach consensus with witnesses
->show how it's done

Exclude dangerous people

A branch of the Restoration Government
->was not without influences, where Science was free from Uni and Gov't

10

Hobbes

His work, LEVIATHAN
->Church should be one with Gov't
->materialistic N.P
->only things with matter exist; no God, no Soul
->dangerous ideas if you want unity

Perpetually rejected from RS, but pointed problems with Hooke & Boyle's Air Pump
->it leaks, can't get all air out
->almost nobody can replicate it, but one who almost did gets different results

11

R.S. Experiments?

1) Blood transfusion
->give a crazy man "lamb's blood" infusion

2) Hooke's Instruments
->ships depth
->water samples from bottom of ocean
->air pump (+Boyle)

Hooke gives idea of witnessed, replicable experiments
->detailed accounts, like today's lab report
Proof for others to see and verify, need Witnesses

12

Micrographia

Hooke's paper, first RS puts their stamp on
->reveals new micro world
->like Galileo's telescopes with space
->breakthrough in science and RS reputation
->mould, fly eyes, snowflakes