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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses Leibniz’s earliest work on physical questions. It begins with how his discovery of contemporary publications on the laws of motion prompted him to investigate the topic for himself, leading him to make a fundamental distinction between pure theory and natural phenomena. From this distinction emerged his two tracts Theoria motus abstracti and Hypothesis physica nova, the latter of which played an important role in his admission to the fellowship of the Royal Society in 1673. Salient parts of these two tracts are outlined, as are some of the more important physical ideas Leibniz developed from them during his stay in Paris.

Keywords: Leibniz, abstract motion, concrete motion, elasticity, equilibrium, experiment, gravitation, magnetism, physical system, Royal Society

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