MIT Energy Initiative
Energy Classes at MIT

A Philosophical History of Energy

Meets Energy Minor Requirements

Elective

Instructor

Class Number

10.04

Level

Undergraduate

Term

Spring

Description

Philosophic and historical approach to conceptions of energy through the 19th century. Relation of long standing scientific and philosophic problems in the field of energy to 21st-century debates. Topics include the development of thermodynamics and kinetic theories, the foundation of the scientific project, the classical view of energy, and the harnessing of nature. Authors include Bacon, Boltzmann, Carnot, Compte, Descartes, Gibbs, Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Mill, Peirce, Whitehead, and Maxwell. Key texts and controversies form topics of weekly writing assignments and term papers.

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