Chapter One of Du Châtelet’s Institutions de Physique

"Des principes de nos connaissances"

The wait is over. Chapter 1 of the Institutions de physique went online this week and can now be viewed on our Webpage.

In the manuscript, we find two drafts of the first Chapter, with two different titles. The first one says “Des principes de nos raisonnemens”, and the second one says “Des principes de nos connaissances”. As for all the chapters, Du Châtelet did a lot of corrections and restructurings in her first chapter, also in the title. But why did she change from “raisonnemens” to “connaissances”? Did she intend to follow more precisely Descartes’ Principles of philosophy?

Furthermore, in the manuscript, the enumeration of the paragraph numbers is interesting. In the first draft paragraph 1 is listed I. However, the enumeration is not continued. In the second draft the enumeration does not start with I but with II, and this on paragraph 2. One could imagine that paragraph I from the first draft should precede paragraph II from the second draft in the final manuscript version or in the printed version, but we have no proof for this.

If your curiosity has now been aroused, you will find other crucial information about Chapter 1 in the Introduction.

If you want to learn more about the project, you can find some additional information here.

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