Dynamics and the theory of fire in Du Châtelet and Kant

Upcoming research presentation by Aaron Wells and Maaike Korpershoek

On May 10, Aaron Wells will present a talk (co-authored with Maaike Korpershoek, University of Groningen) at the Scottish Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, entitled “From the Theory of Fire to Dynamical Balancing: Boerhaave, Du Châtelet, and Kant.”

The talk seeks to illuminate the historical background of Kant’s famous ‘balancing’ argument, debuted in his 1756 Physical Monadology, that stable, space-filling matter requires balanced attractive and repulsive forces. The talk argues that both Kant and Du Châtelet began with a ‘local’ theory of balancing based on fire and other chemical phenomena. Then, each moved to a more general dynamical balancing argument.

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