Between Laws and Models: Some Philosophical Morals of Lagrangian Mechanics

Preprint English OPEN
Butterfield, Jeremy;
(2004)
  • Subject: Physics - Classical Physics | Physics - History and Philosophy of Physics | Physics - General Physics
    arxiv: Physics::History of Physics

I extract some philosophical morals from some aspects of Lagrangian mechanics. (A companion paper will present similar morals from Hamiltonian mechanics and Hamilton-Jacobi theory.) One main moral concerns methodology: Lagrangian mechanics provides a level of descriptio... View more
  • References (2)

    1 Introduction 3 1.1 Against the matter-in-motion picture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1.2 Prospectus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    2 Morals 9 2.1 Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 2.1.1 (Scheme): what is it to be “given a function”? . . . . . . . . . . 11 2.1.2 Generalizing the notion of function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 2.1.3 Solutions of ordinary differential equations; constants of the motion 19 2.1.4 Schemes for solving problems-and their merits . . . . . . . . . 24 2.1.5 Reformulating and Restricting a Theory: (Reformulate) and (Restrict) 28 2.2 Ontology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 2.2.1 Grades of modal involvement: (Modality) . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 2.2.2 Accepting Variety: (Accept) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 in L. Euler Opera Omnia (four series from 1911: Leipzig/Berlin/Zurich/Basel): series 2, 11, Section 2.

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