November 7, 2016
Atomism, mechanics, Democritus, Newton, quantity, force, orbit, necessity
The theme of our seminar is to make a philosophical journey. Going from Democritus to Newton, we would like to summarize the achievements and reasons of the mechanistic thinking: Democritus wanted to create a mechanistic-atomic description scheme based on reason and observation, independent of divine subjectivism and arbitrariness, like all other nature philosophers. But the historical development from Democritus to Newton revealed the lack of a very important element in this scheme. Nature philosophers tried to explain the world by means of qualitative concepts and laws. However, besides qualitative features, these concepts had also measurable quantitative features which were very important in order to describe the world. Relations based on the quantification of these concepts (Newton's laws) were not enough to explain the nature of the forces in the world, but they were able to determine the orbit of the bodies as the obligatory result of acting forces.