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date: 18 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Leibniz’s mature physics is most noted for the centrality of the notion of force and the development of the dynamics, the science of force. This chapter examines the development and challenges of this “dynamics project,” active from 1676–c. 1700, from its initial motivations and methodological maturation to its important convergence with the systematic metaphysics of his later writings. The chapter begins with Leibniz’s early approach to physical questions and his development in Paris (1672–76), then turns to the emerging theory of power or force from the late 1670s to the late 1680s. In 1689, Leibniz coined the term “dynamica” and composed the two most significant texts of the project. Finally, during the period after 1690, Leibniz not only developed the internal structure of the dynamics but also employed its results toward a convergence between his scientific work and his systematic metaphysics of substantial forms.

Keywords: Leibniz, principle of equipollence, dynamics, force, power, action, vis viva, dead force, substantial form

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