Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(2,192 words)

1. Concept

The “mechanical philosophy,” a new mathematical form of exposition, and a new theory of matter and its properties and powers, were crucial ingredients in the Scientific Revolution of the 17th and 18th centuries. From the perspective of the 21st century, it is possible to discern three main usages of the noun “mechanics” in early modern discourse.

(1) The most colloquial has to do with the construction and operation of machines like pumps and m…

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Miller, Jon, “Mechanism”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 23 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_023821>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190801

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