acta physica slovaca

Acta Physica Slovaca 62, No.6, 519 – 614 (2012) (86 pages)


Ladislav Kvasz
    Institute of Philosophy, Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic, Jilská 1, 11 000 Prague, Czech Republic
    Department of Mathematics, Pedagogical Faculty of Charles University M. D. Rettigové 4, 116 39, Prague, Czech Republic

Full text: ::pdf :: (Received 30 November 2013, accepted 2 December 2013, in final form 11 December 2013)

Abstract: Many of the outstanding discoveries in the history of physics were closely tied to fundamental linguistic innovations, which made them possible. There is an extensive literature discussing the scientific achievements of Galileo, Descartes, and Newton from various perspectives. The aim of the present paper is to contribute to these discussions with an analysis of the linguistic tools, by means of which these three authors made their scientific discoveries. We will focus on the main linguistic innovations contained in their works. Thus we will discuss not only the contributions of Galileo, Descartes, and Newton to the development of physics, but we will analyze also the linguistic tools by means of which they formulated these contributions. More specifically, in galileo we will focus on the innovations that he introduced into the experimental method and thus fundamentally changed the way how the expressions of the language of physics are related to reality. Since Galileo the majority of term that occur in physical formulas have an indirect, instrumentally mediated reference. Similarly in Descartes we will focus on the theoretical models, which he introduced into physics in order to explain various phenomena. For Descartes, and since Descartes for great part of physics, to understand a phenomenon means to construct its theoretical model, which by means of unobservable quantities and objects explains the observed phenomenon. In our exposition we will focus on the linguistic tools, by means of which these models are constructed. And finally in Newton we will focus on his description of interaction. For Newton, and since Newton for the entire physics, the description of reality consists in the representation of the temporal evolution of the state of the system. We will discuss the series of linguistic innovations that Newton had to introduce in order to create this way of representing reality.

DOI: 10.2478/v10155-012-0001-6

PACS: 01.65.+g, 01.70.+w
Keywords: Galilean physics, Cartesian physics, Newtonian Physics, Absolute space, Idealization, Language of physics, Husserl
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