L’«Histoire de la physique» de Pierre Duhem: contexte d’une publication singulière et historique de l’usage du terme «révolution»

In Jean-François Stoffel & Souad Ben Ali (eds.), Pierre Duhem, cent ans plus tard (1916-2016): actes de la journée d’étude internationale tenue à Tunis le 10 mars 2016, suivis de l’édition française de l’«Histoire de la physique» (1911) de Pierre Duhem. Tunis, Tunisie: pp. 271-300 (2017)
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Destined to accompany the original French text edition of the English article devoted to the history of physics that Pierre Duhem published in 1911 in the Catholic Encyclopedia, this article proposes, firstly, to contextualize this written work by retracing the history of the various Duhemian notes that appeared in this encyclopedia, by addressing the various references to Duhem contained in the Catholic Encyclopedia’s volumes, and by briefly reiterating the main Duhemian publications in progress at the time this text was written. Secondly, taking advantage of the first appearance within these notes of the word “revolution” being used to denote, on one hand, the groundwork for the basic principles of Aristotelian physics established between 1277 and 1377, and, on the other hand, Kepler’s contribution which put an end to the demands of Platonic circularity, this article also offers a terminological research of the use of this term within Duhem’s work. In doing so, it also provides some insight into the reception of Duhem’s ideas within Catholic circles (namely, an increased appreciation of its qualities), and it increases awareness as to the entirely unexpected saliency of the notion of “revolution” within the ongoing historical work of this author.
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