Voici les éléments 1 - 10 sur 17
  • Publication
    Accès libre
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Maupertuis. Le philosophe, l’académicien, le polémiste
    (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2022)
    Aujourd’hui presque oublié, Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (1698-1759) est pourtant une figure majeure de la vie intellectuelle et institutionnelle du siècle des Lumières. Cet ouvrage se propose de renouveler l’image du savant en approfondissant certains aspects saillants de sa vie et de son œuvre, et de lui restituer ainsi la place qu’il mérite dans l’histoire de son siècle. Il s’agit notamment d’interroger la genèse et l’évolution de sa pensée philosophique, en dévoilant l’originalité de son épistémologie et de sa métaphysique. L’identité du « Maupertuis philosophe » se construit en parallèle avec celle de l’« académicien » et du « polémiste ». C’est pourquoi ce volume consacre aussi un large espace à l’étude des milieux académiques où Maupertuis travailla, à Paris comme à Berlin, ainsi qu’aux controverses auxquelles il prit part.
  • Publication
    Restriction temporaire
    Experience, Analogy and Mechanism in Maupertuis’s Theory of Generation
    (Cham: Springer, 2022)
    At the mid-eighteenth century, the formulation of alternative theories undermined the hegemony of preexistence in the debate on animal generation. The new theories were characterized by a revival of epigenesis, and by a naturalization of the explanatory models. A key text in the mid-century renaissance of epigenesis is Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis’s "Vénus physique" (1745). While interpreters have unanimously acknowledged the role of this text in changing the course of the debate, the reasons for Maupertuis’s originality have not been studied in depth. Also, the relationship between the "Vénus physique" and the mechanistic view of generation is not entirely clear. With respect to the first point, I argue that Maupertuis is original in the theoretical framework he develops. He adopts a strongly empiricist stance and is skeptical about the possibility of the human intellect attaining a reliable knowledge of nature. As for the second point, I show not only that the reference to mechanism, and to Descartes’s work, is important in defining the terms of the controversy over preexistence. The appropriation of the mechanistic view, its updating, and eventual dismissal, are also important passages in the constitution of Enlightenment embryology, fostering the rise of a materialist approach in the 1750s.
  • Publication
    Métadonnées seulement
    Denis Papin's digester and its eighteenth-century European circulation
    (2021-12-27)
    The digester, invented by Denis Papin in the 1680s, was a rudimentary pressure cooker used to soften hard bodies by boiling them at high pressure. In this paper, I propose a reassessment of Papin's work on the digester, arguing that his research was located at the intersection of the chemical laboratory and cooking practice. I then examine cases from the eighteenth-century European circulation of the instrument in Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands in order to showcase the different practices in which the digester was embedded, including chemical research, philanthropic projects to feed the destitute, and proposals for the improvement of home cooking. The digester's history represents a key episode for demonstrating the intertwined nature of natural-philosophical research and the practice of economy or ‘thrift’. All users of the digester engaged in a rationalization of its functions through quantification, not only to fulfil a concern for precision but also to display the device's potential to reform practical daily life. The digester could save time and fuel, reduce material waste, make cooking easier and foster collective meal preparation for the needy.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    La présence de Descartes dans la Vénus physique de Maupertuis : Réappropriation et critique
    (2021-10-6)
    Nous nous proposons d’offrir de nouvelles pistes de réflexion sur la présence de Descartes dans les sciences de la vie au XVIIIe siècle à travers l’analyse de la Vénus physique (1745) de Maupertuis. Nous introduisons d’abord la critique que Maupertuis fait de la préexistence. Nous discutons ensuite des théories de la génération de Descartes et de Maupertuis, en soulignant la réappropriation du cartésianisme par ce dernier, ainsi que sa tentative de « mettre à jour » l’explication cartésienne.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Cartography, Geodesy, and the Heliocentric Theory: Yves Simonin’s Unpublished Papers
    (2020-11-18)
    Yves Simonin, a rather obscure professor of hydrography in Bayonne, submitted five scientific papers to the Paris Academy of Sciences between 1738 and 1740, which only survive in the original manuscript versions. The topics Simonin deals with in these texts are essentially three: the rectification of navigation charts of the Southern Sea, the shape of the Earth, and the heliocentric theory. Far from acknowledging Simonin's contribution to the ongoing academic debate as a valuable one, the institution systematically rejected his work. In this paper, I first provide a critical analysis of Simonin's manuscripts. As I argue, their originality lies in the adoption of the perspective of a practitioner of and expert in navigational techniques. I then investigate the reasons behind the Academy's negative reception of Simonin's papers, casting light on the expertise required to participate in academic debates in the mid-18th century, and on the limits set by the institution to the possibility of external intervention.