Compendium of Natural and Experimental Philosophy 1

PLYMPTON’S PARKER’S PHILOSOPHY: A SCHOOL COMPENDIUM of NATURAL AND EXPERIMENTAL PHILOSOPHY, BY RICHARD GREEN PARKER

PREFACE TO THE REVISED AND ENLARGED EDITION 1871
INTRODUCTION
DIVISIONS OF THE SUBJECT
OF MATTER AND ITS PROPERTIES
OF GRAVITY
MECHANICS, on THE LAWS OF MOTION
THE MECHANICAL POWERS
REGULATORS OF MOTION
HYDROSTATICS
HYDRAULICS
PNEUMATICS
ACOUSTICS
PYRONOMICS
THE STEAM-ENGINE
OPTICS
ELECTRICITY
GALVANISM, OR VOLTAIC ELECTRICITY
MAGNETISM
ELECTRO MAGNETISM
THE ELECTROMAGNETIC TELEGRAPH
THE ELECTROTYPE PROCESS
MAGNETO-ELECTRICITY
THERMO-ELECTRICITY
ASTRONOMY

Preface and Introduction

PREFACE TO THE REVISED AND ENLARGED EDITION 1871

THE favor with which this book has, from its first appearance, been received by the teachers of this country, has induced the publishers to offer yet another edition to the schools of the United States. It is presented as a revision and an enlargement of the previous edition.

The revision of the book has led to such corrections of the text of the older work as the recent progress in physical science demanded.

This has been accomplished without changing the numbering of the paragraphs or their distribution on the pages. Where a more extended correction seemed necessary than this plan permitted, the reader has been referred by note to the Appendix for the supplementary portion.

It was deemed an exceedingly desirable object by the publishers that the new work should be presented in such shape that, when introduced to classes using the old edition, the exchange might be effected with the least possible inconvenience to teacher and pupil.

The principal emendations have been made in the subjects of Mechanics, Heat, Hydrodynamics, and Optics. In Mechanics particularly, the progress of ideas within a short period demands that the rudimentary conceptions of Force, Power, and work in the mind of the learner should be more sharply defined. The first paragraphs of the Appendix, giving the distinction between these terms, and also introducing the term Energy, have been prepared in accordance with this demand.

The mechanical theory of Heat, the practical relation of Hydrostatics and Hydraulics to Mechanical Engineering, the later uses of compressed air, and the theory of the Spectroscope, have received a due share of space in the additional pages.

A large number of new illustrations have been added, which, it is hoped, will aid the necessarily concise Appendix.

GEO. W. PLTMPTON.

POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE, December, 1871.

INTRODUCTION

The term Philosophy literally signifies the love of wisdom; but, as a general term, it is used to denote an explanation of the reason of things, or an investigation of the causes of all phenomena, both of mind and of matter.

When applied to any particular department of knowledge, the word Philosophy implies the collection of general laws or principles, under which the subordinate facts or phenomena relating to that subject are comprehended.

Thus that branch of Philosophy which treats of God, his attributes and perfections, is called Theology; that which treats of the material world is called Physics, or Natural Philosophy; that which treats of man as a rational being is called Ethics, or Moral Philosophy; and that which treats of the mind is called Intellectual Philosophy, or Metaphysics.

The natural division of all things that exist is into body and mind things material and immaterial, spiritual and corporeal. Physics relates to material things, Metaphysics to immaterial. Man, as a mere animal, is included in the science of Physics, but, as a being possessed of a soul, of intellect, of the powers of perception, consciousness, volition, reason, and judgment, he becomes a subject of consideration in the science of Metaphysics.

All material things are divided into two great classes, called organized and unorganized matter. Organized matter is that which is endowed with organs adapted to the discharge of appropriate functions, such as the mouth and stomach of animals, or the leaves of vegetables. By means of such organs they enjoy life. Unorganized matter, on the contrary, possesses no such organs, and is consequently incapable of life and voluntary action. Stones, the various kinds of earth, metals, and many minerals, are instances of unorganized matter. Fossils, that is, substances dug out of the earth, are frequently instances of a combination of organized and unorganized matter.

Unorganized matter also enters into the composition of organized matter. Thus, the bones of animals contain lime, which by itself is unorganized matter. Physical Science, or Physics, with its subdivisions of

Natural History (including Zoology, Botany, Mineralogy, Conchology, Entomology, Ichthyology, &c.) and Natural Philosophy, including its own appropriate subdivisions, embraces the whole field of organized and unorganized matter.

The term Natural Philosophy is considered by some authors a’s embracing the whole extent of physical science, while others use it in a more restricted sense, including only the general properties of unorganized matter, the forces which act upon it, the laws which it obeys, the results of those laws, and all those external changes which leave the substance unaffected. It is in this sense, that the term is employed in this work.

Chemistry, on the contrary, is the science which investigates the composition of material substances, the internal changes which they undergo, and the new properties.

Which they acquire by such changes, the operations of chemistry may be described under the heads of Analysis or decomposition, and Synthesis or combination.

Natural Philosophy makes us acquainted with the condition and relations of bodies as they spontaneously arise, without any agency of our own. Chemistry teaches us how to alter the natural arrangement of elements to bring about some particular condition that we desire. To accomplish these objects in both of the departments of science to which we refer, we make use of appliances called philosophical and chemical apparatus, the proper use of which it is the office of Natural Philosophy and Chemistry respectively to explain.

All philosophical knowledge proceeds either from observation or experiment, or from both. It is a matter of observation that water, by cold, is converted into ice, but if, by means of freezing mixtures, or evaporation, we actually cause water to freeze, we arrive at the same knowledge by experiment.

By repeated observations, and by calculations based on such observations, we discover certain uniform modes in which the powers of nature act. These uniform modes of operation are called laws; and these laws are general or particular according to the extent of the subjects which they respectively embrace. Thus, it is a general law that all bodies attract each other in proportion to the quantity of matter which they contain. It is a particular law of electricity that similar kinds repel and dissimilar kinds attract each other.

The collection, combination, and proper arrangement of such general and particular laws, constitute what is called Science. Thus, we have the science of Chemistry, the science of Geometry, the science of Natural Philosophy, &c.

The terms art and science have not always been employed with proper discrimination. In general, an art is that which depends on practice or performance, while science is the examination of general laws, or of abstract and speculative principles. The theory of music is a science; the practice of it is an art.

Science differs from art in the same manner that knowledge differs from skill. An artist may enchant us with is kill, although he is ignorant of all scientific principles. A man of science may excite our admiration by the extent of his knowledge, though he have not the least skill to perform any operation of art. When we speak of the mechanic arts, we mean the practice of those vocations in which tools, instruments and machinery, are employed. But the science of Mechanics explains the principles on which tools and machines are constructed, and the effects which they produce. Science, therefore, may be defined, a collection and proper arrangement of the general principles or leading truths relating to any subject; and there is this connection between art and science, namely – “A principle in science is a rule of art.”

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