© 1986

Atom and Individual in the Age of Newton

On the Genesis of the Mechanistic World View


Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 88)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Introduction

    1. Gideon Freudenthal
      Pages 1-9
  3. Element and System in Classical Mechanics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 11-11
    2. Gideon Freudenthal
      Pages 29-43
  4. Element and System in Modern Philosophy

  5. On the Social History of the Bourgeois Concept of the Individual

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 105-107
    2. Gideon Freudenthal
      Pages 108-114
    3. Gideon Freudenthal
      Pages 115-137
    4. Gideon Freudenthal
      Pages 138-152
    5. Gideon Freudenthal
      Pages 153-160
    6. Gideon Freudenthal
      Pages 161-168
  6. Atom and Individual

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 169-172
    2. Gideon Freudenthal
      Pages 189-204

About this book


In this stimulating investigation, Gideon Freudenthal has linked social history with the history of science by formulating an interesting proposal: that the supposed influence of social theory may be seen as actual through its co­ herence with the process of formation of physical concepts. The reinterpre­ tation of the development of science in the seventeenth century, now widely influential, receives at Freudenthal's hand its most persuasive statement, most significantly because of his attention to the theoretical form which is charac­ teristic. of classical Newtonian mechanics. He pursues the sources of the parallels that may be noted between that mechanics and the dominant philosophical systems and social theories of the time; and in a fascinating development Freudenthal shows how a quite precise method - as he descriptively labels it, the 'analytic-synthetic method' - which underlay the Newtonian form of theoretical argument, was due to certain interpretive premisses concerning particle mechanics. If he is right, these depend upon a particular stage of con­ ceptual achievement in the theories of both society and nature; further, that the conceptual was generalized philosophically; but, strikingly, Freudenthal shows that this concept-formation itself was linked to the specific social relations of the times of Newton and Hobbes.


Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Issac Newton Jean-Jaques Rousseau Thomas Aquinas church concept dynamics foundation history of literature ideology liberty model natural philosophy protestantism will

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Tel Aviv UniversityIsrael

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Atom and Individual in the Age of Newton
  • Book Subtitle On the Genesis of the Mechanistic World View
  • Authors G. Freudenthal
  • Series Title Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1986
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-90-277-1905-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-94-010-8505-2
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-009-4500-5
  • Series ISSN 0068-0346
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages , 288
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Additional Information Originally published in German
  • Topics Philosophy of Science
    History, general
  • Buy this book on publisher's site