Maupertuis

BookMaupertuis

Maupertuis

an intellectual biography

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 299

1992

January 1st, 1992

Access Token
£65.00
READ THIS EBOOK

Details

Other Formats

Price

Description

This intellectual biography stands as the definitive account of Maupertuis’s career. His much-publicised quarrel with Voltaire – which ultimately destroyed him – has cast a long shadow over his reputation. Maupertuis’s true contribution to eighteenth-century scientific debate re-emerges clearly in this important reassessment.

'An extremely welcome study which attempts, not a rehabilitation, but an objective analysis of Maupertuis’s work and its importance in the science of his time.'
Ann Thomson, French Studies 48 (1994)

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/9780729404389?cc=us

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover1
Half Title2
Title Page4
Copyright Page5
Contents6
Acknowledgements8
Introduction: Why Maupertuis?10
Chronology of Maupertuis’s life16
1. The scientific background24
The triumph and decline of Cartesianism24
Natural history and the attack on dualism26
Developments in physics: point-mass mechanics27
Theories of gravitation33
Natural history: ovism and spermatism - ontological and teleological reasoning42
Ontology and teleology in physics: the case of optics48
Empiricism and rationalism: the shape of the Earth57
2. The years of apprenticeship: 1698–173271
Saint-Malo and Paris71
London73
Vis viva: the debate reopens75
Basle and Paris78
Hesitations over Leibnizianism81
Montpellier: an interlude for natural history82
On the shapes of celestial bodies85
De figuris88
Genesis of the Figures des astres91
3. The shape of the Earth: 1732–174097
France’s first Newtonian97
Reactions to the Figures des astres104
The shape of the Earth: the debate reopens109
Factions in the Academy: the generation gap111
Counter-attack: the search for a decisive test119
After Lapland125
A new offensive: the Examen désintéressé131
Twisting the knife138
Elémens de géographie140
Lettre d'un horloger anglois141
4. From Paris to Berlin: 1740–1745144
Prussia and the Berlin Academy of Sciences144
Maupertuis and Frederick147
Maupertuis in Paris149
Launching the Berlin Academy152
Closing a chapter154
Speculative philosophy162
Thoughts on science: address to the Académie française171
Towards least-action principle: work on statics172
From statics to optics176
Natural history180
A thinker in transition191
5. The years of triumph: 1746–1751193
Berlin before the Koenig affair193
La Mettrie: moral philosophy199
La Mettrie: natural history215
Leonhard Euler224
Guillaume236
The peaks of achievement250
6. Decline and death: 1751–1759252
Maupertuis and Koenig252
Revisions to existing texts254
Replies to critics258
New work262
Maupertuis’s last journey270
Conclusion: an attempt at an assessment275
Appendix: Maupertuis’s mathematical analysis of point-mass collisions282
Bibliography286
Index308