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The Early Debate Concerning Wave-Theory

  • August Ziggelaar
Chapter
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire Des Idées / International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 136)

Abstract

1. Newton’s Principia. In 1687 Newton published his work on the Mathematical Principles of Natural Science — it is thus that we may translate its Latin title. By means of the second or force law and the law of universal gravitational attraction, he was able to explain the mechanics of the solar system. It was thus that he established his fame and his authority in the exact sciences. And his fame was such, that until the end of the eighteenth century and beyond, the author himself was as revered as his works.

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Philosophical Transaction Early Debate Elastic Fluid Rectilinear Propagation 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    In 1704 Newton also derived the sine law of refraction in his Opticks, bk. I, exp. 15 and bk. II, pt. III, prop. 10.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hegel says Newton’s idea of a ray is barbaric, Encyclopedia § 276; MM 9.117; tr. Petry II.17,33; tr. Miller p. 92. Hegel deals with the refraction of light as the second aspect in “the relation of individualized matter to light”, o.c. § 318; MM 9.228, 230ff.; tr. Petry II.125-133; tr. Miller pp. 185-192.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hegel wants to remove from optics all kinds of explanations by means of corpuscles, waves and oscillations. Encyclopedia § 276, MM 9.118; tr. Petry II.19,3; tr. Miller p.93.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hooke, R. 1665, pp. 55-56.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hooke, R. 1665, p. 57.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Newton C I.175.370. The letter of 1672 was published in Philosophical Transactions 7 (1672). Cf. what Newton writes in query twenty (1706; 28 in 1717) in his Opticks.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ziggelaar, A. 1980.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hegel discusses double refraction in Encyclopedia § 319; MM 9.239-241; tr. Petry II 133-134; tr. Miller pp. 192-194.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Huygens, C. 1690; Huygens, C. 1962.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Huygens, C. 1690, p. 3; Huygens, C. 1962, p. 3.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Footnote (c) to Newton’s letter of February 6 1672 to Henry Oldenburg, published in Philosophical Transactions 6 (1671/72), 3075-87. Quoted from Newton C I.106.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Newton C I.370.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Halley, E. 1693.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Malebranche, N. 1945, Discourse xii.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Cantor, G.N. 1983, p. 12.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Malebranche, N. 1946, p. 186.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Malebranche, N. 1946, p. 161. Hegel accepted that the propagation of light takes time, but suggested that one should not indulge in its spectral consequences for objects in the sky at distances of many light-years. Encyclopedia § 276; MM 9.120-121; tr. Petry II.21.5; tr. Miller p. 94.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Grimaldi, F.-M. 1665. Hegel mentions diffraction of light in Encyclopedia § 320 (Addition, section γ); MM 9.259; tr. Petry II.151,3-35; tr. Miller pp. 208-209.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Grimaldi, F.-M. 1665, bk. I, prop. 22.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Stuewer, R. 1970, p. 204.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Cf. Hegel’s appraisal of so-called four-sided light-rays, Encyclopedia § 278; MM 9.124; tr. Petry II.23,27-40; tr. Miller p. 97.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Cantor, G.N. 1983, p. 31. Hegel rejects the “physics of light particles” in Encyclopedia § 276; MM 9.119; tr. Petry II.17,30-18,1; tr. Miller p. 92.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Euler, L. 1746. See also Euler, L. 1812, letters CXXXIII-CXXXVI, pp. 86-104.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Euler, L. 1746, ch. 1, § 3, p. 2.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Euler, L. 1746, p. XIV.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Euler, L. 1746, p. LIV.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Goethe, J. 1962, p. 222.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Euler, L. 1746, ch. 2 § 52, p. 18.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Euler, L. 1746, ch. 4 § 76, pp. 27-28.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Steffens, H. 1977, p. 104.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Robison, J. 1788, pp. 97-98. Quoted from Steffens, H. 1977, p. 84.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Steffens, H. 1977, p. 67. According to Hegel neither Newton’s theory nor the wave-theory and Euler’s ether, are of any use for knowledge concerning light: Encyclopedia § 276; MM 9.120; tr. Petry II.20,10-21; tr. Miller, p. 94.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Young, Th. 1800, § II, p. 112 and § VI, pp. 118-119.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Young, Th. 1800, § X, pp. 125, 127.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Young, Th. 1800, § X, p. 128 and § XI, pp. 130-131. Hegel knows that “shade in light” (destructive interference?) is supposed to be a triumph and advance upon Newton in his days, but maintains that it is not physics since it is not empirical: Encyclopedia § 276 (Addition); MM 9.120; tr. Petry II.20,13-19; tr. Miller p. 94.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Brougham, H. 1804, p. 97. Quoted from Steffens, H. 1977, p. 129.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Brougham, H. 1802, p. 99. Quoted from Young, Th. 1855, p. 205.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Malus, E. 1810.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Malus, E. 1810, § 54, p. 239.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Malus, E. 1810, § 54, p. 240. Hegel refers, in connection with the “clumsy concept” of the polarization of light by means of two mirrors, to Goethe: Encyclopedia § 278; MM 9.123-124; tr. Petry II.23,25; tr. Miller p. 97.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Quarterly Review Nov. 1809. Quoted from Young, Th. 1972, p. 233.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Verdet, E. 1872, p. 351.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1993

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  • August Ziggelaar

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