[1999] D. Suisky, Über eine Differenz in der Begründung des Wirkungsprinzips bei Maupertuis und Euler, in: Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis. Eine Bilanz nach 300 Jahren, ed. by Hartmut Hecht, Berlin 1999.

[2000] D. Suisky, Direct and indirect methods in 18th century mechanics. The background of the Eulerian methodological approach, HOPOS, Vienna 2000.

[2001] D. Suisky and P. Enders, Leibniz’s foundation of mechanics and the development of 18th century mechanics initiated by Euler, in: Proc. VII Int. Leibniz Congress, Berlin 2001.

[2005a] D. Suisky and P. Enders, Quantization as selection problem. Einstein’s approach - reconsidered, Annual Meeting of German Physical Society, Berlin 2005.

[2005b] D. Suisky and P. Enders, Dynamical derivation of Lorentz transformation, Annual Meeting of German Physical Society, Berlin 2005.

[2005c] D. Suisky, Euler and modern mechanics, Euler Society Conference 2005, Roger Williams University, Bristol RI.

[2006a] D. Suisky, Euler’s contribution to the foundation of mechanics, Annual Meeting of German Physical Society, Dortmund 2006.

[2006b] D. Suisky, On the derivation of Lorentz transformation using ordering relations, Annual Meeting of German Physical Society, Dortmund 2006.

[2006c] D. Suisky, Euler’s foundation of mechanics using nonstandard analysis, Euler Society Conference 2006, College of Saint Rose, Albany NY.

[2006d] D. Suisky, The Newton-Leibniz controversy on space and time and the development of mechanics by Euler and Einstein, in: Proc. VIII Int. Leibniz Congress, Hannover 2006.


DPG 2007 AKPhil 8.2 Fr 9:30 KIP SR 3.401

On the post-Newtonian period in the development of mechanics

DPG 2007 AKPhil 8.3 Fr 10:00 KIP SR 3.401

Euler’s mechanics as a unified theory of matter and motion


[2011a] D. Suisky, Newton’s and Leibniz’s transformation of statics into dynamics – the role of ancient science, DPG Frühjahstagung 2011, Dresden.

An important common feature in the work of Newton and Leibniz is the pronounced opposition to Descartes. Though both started with a direct reference to their predecessor, both changed their minds and criticized the shortcomings of Descartes’ theory. Newton

rejected the theory of vortices and the Cartesian innovation in the analytical representation of geometrical relations. Leibniz replaced the Cartesian measure of the quantity of motion or of the dead forces with the measure according to living forces.

It will be argued that this turn away from the Cartesian theory was essentially performed by means of a reinterpretation of ancient sources. Newton recovered Euclid (“[Newton] speak with regret of his mistake at the beginning of his mathematical studies, in applying himself to the works of Des Cartes and other algebraic writers, before he had considered the elements of Euclid with that attention, which so excellent a writer deserves.” [Pemberton]). Leibniz benefited from the achievements of the Peripatetics (Specimen, 1695).

The different outcomes are interpreted in terms of the different reference to ancient authors. Favouring geometric methods, Newton underestimated the promising power of the analytical approach whereas Leibniz underestimated the heuristic role of the idea of the vacuum.

In the 18th century, this reference to ancient sources had been continued. Euler (Mechanica, 1736) and Du Châtelet (Institutions, 1740) emphasized the decisive role of Archimedes’ model of the lever for thought experiments and Lambert interpreted Kant’s innovations in terms of the former ancient distinction between phenomenon an noumenon (1770). 

[2011b] D. Suisky, Das Substanzproblem bei Schlick und Cassirer und die Grundlegung der Physik bei Euler, Universität Rostock.

Anknüpfend an Otto Neuraths Darstellung des historischen Hintergrundes für die Entstehung des logischen Empirismus und die Analyse des Substanzproblems durch Schlick und Cassirer wird gezeigt, daß Eulers Grundlegung der Physik weitgehend den Kriterien des Scientismus genügt und Euler darüber hinaus, ebenso wie der Wiener Kreis im frühen 20. Jahrhundert, in Opposition zur damaligen traditionellen Philosophie im frühen 18. Jahrhundert stand. Insbesondere wird Eulers Position in seiner Kritik des Lehrgebäudes von den Monaden, der weitgehend metaphysikfreien Definition des Kraftbegriffs und der sich daran anschließenden operationalen Definition der Masse deutlich.
Antimetaphysis. GrundtendenzStarker EmprirismusUmfassende LogisierungBetonung der Mathematik
Neuraths „grobe Klassifikation“ [http://www.austrian-philosophy.at] ergänzt durch die Zeile „Euler“.


[2012a] D. Suisky, The postponed Euler-Lambert-Kant discussion in the mirror of the Schlick-Cassirer debate, DPG Frühjahrstagung 2012, Berlin.

Striving for a discussion with the leading mathematicians of his time was a crucial peculiarity in Kant’s attempts to reconsider the basic principles of physics and metaphysics (compare Kant’s letter to Euler in 1749 and the correspondence with Lambert between 1765 and 1770). In a letter to Johann III Bernoulli (1781), Kant commented in retrospect that it would be worthwhile "seine (Lambert’s) Bemühung mit der meinigen zu vereinigen, um etwas Vollendetes zu Stande zu bringen". Though in fact it was Kant who postponed all opportunities which were offered to him by Lambert, he was right in demanding and xpecting a completion of his works. It will be argued that the missed opportunity was revived, first of all in the debates between physicists, mathematicians and the schools of Neo-Kantianism and logical empiricism initiated and performed by Cassirer, Schlick, Reichenbach, Einstein andWeyl. The keystone, however, was delivered by Einstein whose theory of space and time replaced not only the former versions constructed by Newton, Leibniz and Euler, but provided the basis of a new philosophical interpretation. As an unpleasant result for the Kantians, Schlick questioned some of Kant’s previously groundbreaking assumptions ("Nun müssen wir freilich in ihrem ... Dogma, die Philosophie biete unbedingt wahre apriorische Grundsätze dar, eine höchst unglückliche Äußerung erblicken.").

[2012b] D. Suisky, Are there elements of Leibniz’s theory in Newton? On the different shapes of

Newton’s 2nd Law, DPG Frühjahrstagung 2012, Berlin.

The representation of Newton’s 2nd Law underwent several modifications between 1684 and 1687. It will be argued that some of them are robably related to Leibniz’s critique of Cartesian mechanics in 1686. In comparison to the preliminary versions in the manuscripts entitled e Motu (1684a, 1684b), the final version of the 2nd Law published in he Principia (1687) is distinguished by two modifications. De Motu (a) "The change of the state of motion and rest is proportional to the force impressed and is made in the direction of the right line in which that force is impressed." De Motu (b): "The change of motion is proportional to the force impressed ..." In 1686, Leibniz published his famous attack upon Cartesian mechanics replacing the quantity of motion with the moving force and in 1687 appeared the name of "moving force" also in the Principia completing the previously denoted impressed force. "The change of motion is proportional to the motive force impressed ..." Finally, in the French translation published in 1759, du Châtelet interpreted Newton in the spirit of Leibniz by omitting the word "impressed" and maintaining the word "moving". In the Institutions published in 1740, du Châtelet has already accentuated the Leibniz related interpretation by adding that the "change in the direction and the velocity are always due to an external force because otherwise the change would be without sufficient reason".