The word "mechanical" comes from a greek word meaning " machine".

However, the received definition of mechanical philosophy does not contain the concept of a machine. This school of thought is said to adopt the priciple according to which

everything in nature can be explained by the size, the shape and the movement of bodies or material objects ( one body acting on the other, through collision)

My question : which concept of a " machine " allows to call "mechanical" such a principle.

  • 1
    There is no need for such a conception. Meaning of words shifts by loose resemblance without much attention to the original root. Etymonline reports "mechanical" meaning "resembling machines, automatic, lacking spirit or spontaneity" c. 1600, from which it is a short step to "material forces of nature acting on inanimate bodies" from 1620s. – Conifold May 17 at 19:32
  • A lot of historical studies regarding the origins of modern science are about it... See e.g. Marie Boas, The Establishment of the Mechanical Philosophy, Osiris (1952) – Mauro ALLEGRANZA May 18 at 12:19
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    The connection is movement-machine: from pseudo-Aristotle's Mechanica through Archimedes's Equilibium and Hero's machines to Galileo's Mechanics. Machines are based on movement. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA May 18 at 12:26

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