1728. 1st Edition. First Edition of George Bernhard Bilfinger’s De Causa gravitatis physica generali disquisitio experimentalis (On the General Physical Cause of Gravity) – a prize winning explanation of the cause of the weight of bodies designed to check Galileo's and Edme Mariotte's theories. In so doing, Bilfinger discusses the work of many important contemporary scientists. This work won the highest award in a contest sponsored by the Paris Academy (a contest in which Bernoulli was also a contestant).
At once a physicist, a mathematician, an astronomer, a botanist, and a philosopher, Bilfinger was one of the most accomplished and versatile thinkers of his time and was appointed professor of experimental and theoretical physics at St. Petersburg by Peter the Great. Although he was the pupil, friend, and defender of Christian Wolff, Bilfinger concentrated his attention on the philosophy and mathematics of Gottfried Leibniz. Bilfinger’s work was of great import to Kant.
In 1725 and while at the Russian Academy at St. Petersburg, Bilfinger began to study “the vis viva-problem in natural philosophy. This was the question of whether there exists ‘living forces’ that govern bodily motion and possibly everything else, and how to prove their quantity advanced by Leibniz. (This quantity, “mass” times speed squared, would join science as kinetic energy, the space integral of force) (Florida Philosophical Review, Vol. III, Issue 1, Summer 2003, 16). Bilfinger first examined the problem in a treatise entitled On Forces , this being the work that so inspired Kant in Prussia 18 years later. Kant in fact stated that Bilfinger’s approach informed his first book, Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces (1747) and noted that he always used Bilfinger’s research-rule: “Truth is to be found in the harmony of opposites.”. Item #519
CONDITION & DETAILS: 4to. (10 x 7.75 inches, 250 x 194mm). , 1, [40 pages], . 2 foldout copperplate engravings. Beautifully rebound by Jean-Paul Laurenchet at Ateliers Laurenchet in France in modern, marbled paper covered hardboard. Red morocco, gilt-lettered spine label. Pristine condition. Complete. Handsome wide margins. Minor age toning, very slightly darker at the outer edges of the pages. Because of the brightness of the scanner light this appears worse in the scans than it is to the naked eye. A very occasional age spot. Very good + condition by any measure.