This paper discusses the contribution of Madame Du Châtelet to the reception of Newtonianism in France prior to her translation of Newton’s Principia. It focuses on her Institutions de physique, a work normally considered for its contribution to the reception of Leibniz in France. By comparing the different editions of the Institutions, I argue that her interest in Newton antedated her interest in Leibniz, and that she did not see Leibniz’s metaphysics as incompatible with Newtonian science. Her Newtonianism can be seen to be in the course of development between 1738 and 1742 and it was shaped by contemporary French debates and the achievement of French Newtonians like Maupertuis in confirming his theories. Her Institutions therefore is linked to the same drive to disseminate Newtonianism undertaken by popularisations such as Voltaire’s Elements de la philosophie de Newton and Algarotti’s Newtonianismo per le dame.Author Keywords: Emilie du Châtelet; Isaac Newton; Voltaire; French reception of Newtonianism
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2004.06.005
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,581
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Madame Du Ch'telet's Metaphysics and Mechanics.Carolyn Iltis - 1977 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 8 (1):29.
Emilie du Châtelet and the Gendering of Science.Mary Terrall - 1995 - History of Science 33 (101):283-310.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Du Châtelet on Freedom, Self-Motion, and Moral Necessity.Julia Jorati - 2019 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 57 (2):255-280.
Du Châtelet on Sufficient Reason and Empirical Explanation.Aaron Wells - 2021 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 59 (4):629-655.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Emilie du Châtelet Between Leibniz and Newton.Karen Detlefsen - 2013 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (1):207-209.
Hume's Newtonianism and Anti-Newtonianism.Eric Schliesser - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Newtonianism and the Enthusiasm of Enlightenment.Brian Young - 2004 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 35 (3):645-663.
Physique ponctuelle et physique du champ.Louis De Broglie - 1938 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 45 (3):325 - 338.
The Early Kant’s Newtonianism.Eric Watkins - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):429-437.


Added to PP index

Total views
79 ( #139,639 of 2,461,406 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #448,382 of 2,461,406 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes