Los Elements de la Philosophie de Newton de Voltaire y su interpretación de la naturaleza de la luz

V. Aboites

Abstract


The problem of the nature of light as presented in the book Elements de la Philosophie de Newton by Voltaire is presented and its controversy with Cartesian physics. Newton corpuscular proposal for the nature of light, defended by Voltaire, had to face the well accepted physics of Descartes and its followers who proposed that light behaves as a fluid made up of small vortex. It is in this context where the debate of light nature is presented in Voltaire book and here discussed. It is worth noting that this debate would historically and scientifically shadowed by the discussion on the ondulatory and corpuscular theories of light of Huygens and Newton. While the last discussion was rather objective since it was based in solid evidence, the first one had a high degree of speculation where physical, metaphysical and theological arguments would be equally considered. As it is shown, even though Newton proposed an ``incorrect'' theory of light, he had for his defence the extraordinary encyclopaedism and wit of Voltaire.

Keywords


Light; Newton; Voltaire; optics

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Revista Mexicana de Física E

ISSN: 2683-2216 (on line), 1870-3542 (print)

Semiannual publication of Sociedad Mexicana de Física, A.C.
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