Dead force

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In terms, dead force (TR:5) (LH:10) (TL:15), in Latin: ‘vis mortua’, in French: ‘force morte’ (Diderot, 1769), was a proto-scientific term, crudely referring to a heavy weight or force related to the mass of a body with respect to static position, e.g. a rock on a cliff, once popular in the period between Galileo (1630s) to Leibniz (1670s), and into French science literature of the 1830s, that was eventually replaced with "potential energy" (Rankine, 1853).


The following are quotes:

“All right. But what’s the relationship between motion and sensitivity? Could it by chance be the case that you recognize an active sensitivity and a latent sensitivity, just as there is a living force [force vive] and dead force [force morte]? A living force [force vive] which manifests itself by displacement, and a dead force [force morte] which manifests itself by pressure, an active sensitivity which is characterized by certain observable actions in an animal and perhaps in a plant, and a latent sensitivity which we would confirm by its transformation into a condition of active sensitivity.”
Denis Diderot (1769), Alembert's Dream (§1.13, character: Diderot)
“In considering the origin and manifestation of life, it would be foolish to suppose that a being with the very limited powers of man, could possibly discriminate between the manifestation of so-called dead force and so-called ‘living’ [living force], when having under consideration objects of such infinitely small proportions. Because therefore man cannot see the muscles of an atom contract, or its lips articulating, or watch its organs perform their various functions, there is no reason for affirming that the atom is not a living being. When the thing itself is infinitely beyond the understanding of the greatest mind, it were only madness to suppose that we could know all its attributes and qualities. If I have affirmed, and if I believe that the atom is a thinking conscious being, it is not because I have scientifically demonstrated its intelligence or personality; but because of far higher reasons than those of physical science: I am a thinking conscious being; and whatever is in me, must be in the atom either actually or potentially, it matters not which.”
Henry Bray (1910), The Living Universe (pg. 266) [1]

End matter

See also


  1. Bray, Henry. (1910). The Living Universe (pg. 266). Truro, 1920.

External links

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