Absolute time in Du Châtelet’s Paris Manuscript

An example of her evolving views...

There’s a surprising reference to absolute time in the chapter of the Paris Manuscript of the Institutions devoted to the motion of oscillating pendulums. This recent find in the process of transcribing the Paris Manuscript is a surprise because absolute time is something Du Châtelet argues against elsewhere. Here, at fol. 303r, she suggests that the motion of a pendulum could measure true and absolute time (though perhaps only in an ideal case). In the published version of this chapter, however, Du Châtelet makes an important change: she deletes the reference to ‘absolute’ time but continues to refer to true time. For more on the Paris Manuscript critical edition project, see here.

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