Dunlop – The Significance of Du Châtelet’s Proof of the Parallelogram of Forces
Katherine Dunlop - 'The Significance of Du Châtelet’s Proof of the Parallelogram of Forces'
‘The Significance of Du Châtelet’s Proof of the Parallelogram of Forces‘ – See Katherine Dunlop’s paper in the Époque Émilienne!
Abstract: My aim in this paper is to show the historical importance of Émilie Du Châtelet’s proof of the parallelogram rule for composition of forces. Du Châtelet’s argument follows earlier, dynamical models (which proceed by relating forces to motions), but also anticipates rigorous proofs from absolutely general first principles. In particular, Du Châtelet’s proof prefigures Kant’s justification of the parallelogram rule for composition of motions, given in “Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science”. Both Du Châtelet and Kant base their proofs on the general thesis that any rectilinear trajectory can be considered as a “relative space”.