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The Cartesian theory of gravity

The Cartesian theory of gravity THE CARTESIAN THEORY OF GI~AVITY By E. J. AITON, M.Sc., Ph.D.* WHETHER Descartes derived any inspiration from Gilbert and Kepler is difficult to determine. Certain passages in the works of these authors seem to indicate, however, that they were influential in the development of Cartesian ideas. Reference has already been made to the passage in Kepler's Astronomia nova describing the idea of the Cartesian vortex 1. The Cartesian idea that the cause of weight was to be sought in the action of a fluid matter appeared in Gilbert's De magnete. Discussing electric attraction, Gilbert wrote, " for as no action can be performed by matter save by contact, these electric bodies do not appear to touch, but of necessity something is given out from the one to the other to come into close contact therewith, and be a cause of incitation to it ". He continued: " air, too (the earth's universal effluvium), unites parts that are separated, and the earth, by means of the air, brings back bodies to itself; else bodies would not so eagerly seek the earth from heights-2 Although he did not attempt to explain the mechanism of this action, Gilbert supported by experiment the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Annals of Science Taylor & Francis

The Cartesian theory of gravity

Annals of Science , Volume 15 (1): 23 – Mar 1, 1959

The Cartesian theory of gravity

Annals of Science , Volume 15 (1): 23 – Mar 1, 1959

Abstract

THE CARTESIAN THEORY OF GI~AVITY By E. J. AITON, M.Sc., Ph.D.* WHETHER Descartes derived any inspiration from Gilbert and Kepler is difficult to determine. Certain passages in the works of these authors seem to indicate, however, that they were influential in the development of Cartesian ideas. Reference has already been made to the passage in Kepler's Astronomia nova describing the idea of the Cartesian vortex 1. The Cartesian idea that the cause of weight was to be sought in the action of a fluid matter appeared in Gilbert's De magnete. Discussing electric attraction, Gilbert wrote, " for as no action can be performed by matter save by contact, these electric bodies do not appear to touch, but of necessity something is given out from the one to the other to come into close contact therewith, and be a cause of incitation to it ". He continued: " air, too (the earth's universal effluvium), unites parts that are separated, and the earth, by means of the air, brings back bodies to itself; else bodies would not so eagerly seek the earth from heights-2 Although he did not attempt to explain the mechanism of this action, Gilbert supported by experiment the

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Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1464-505X
eISSN
0003-3790
DOI
10.1080/00033795900200038
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

THE CARTESIAN THEORY OF GI~AVITY By E. J. AITON, M.Sc., Ph.D.* WHETHER Descartes derived any inspiration from Gilbert and Kepler is difficult to determine. Certain passages in the works of these authors seem to indicate, however, that they were influential in the development of Cartesian ideas. Reference has already been made to the passage in Kepler's Astronomia nova describing the idea of the Cartesian vortex 1. The Cartesian idea that the cause of weight was to be sought in the action of a fluid matter appeared in Gilbert's De magnete. Discussing electric attraction, Gilbert wrote, " for as no action can be performed by matter save by contact, these electric bodies do not appear to touch, but of necessity something is given out from the one to the other to come into close contact therewith, and be a cause of incitation to it ". He continued: " air, too (the earth's universal effluvium), unites parts that are separated, and the earth, by means of the air, brings back bodies to itself; else bodies would not so eagerly seek the earth from heights-2 Although he did not attempt to explain the mechanism of this action, Gilbert supported by experiment the

Journal

Annals of ScienceTaylor & Francis

Published: Mar 1, 1959

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