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By Michael R. Matthews (auth.), P. V. Kokkotas, K. S Malamitsa, A. A. Rizaki (eds.)

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Be that as it may, by means of (2) Laplace had managed to connect the macroscopic parameter of temperature with the microscopic structure of caloric. Given that temperature and pressure determine the macroscopic behaviour of gases, Laplace could now show how the observable behaviour of gases is caused by the micro-structure of caloric. Using (1) and (2), Laplace was ready to derive — within the framework of the caloric theory of heat— the laws of gases’ and in particular the Boyle-Marriotte’s law, Gay-Lussac’s law and the equation of the state.

E. ). How were, if at all, the laws of gases to be derived within the caloric theory? ). Therefore, Laplace’s conclusion was, in effect, that unless the theory is modified in an ad hoc way, so that some forces are rendered negligible beforehand, the laws of gases could not be proved and explained within the caloric theory. 5. HERAPATH’S CRITICISM The foregoing observation that Laplace’s constructions were ad hoc is not one merely drawn by hindsight. John Herapath (1790–1868)3, a then unknown physicist and self-taught schoolmaster from Bristol, in a paper that appeared in Philosophical Magazine in 1823, examined in detail Laplace’s constructions, argued against their fundamental assumptions, and criticised them, explicitly, for being ad hoc.

Développement de la Théorie des Fluides Élastiques et Application de Cette Théorie a la Vitesse du Son. In Connaissance des Temps pour l’année 1825 —reprinted in Ouevres Complètes de Laplace (Vol. 13, pp. 291–301). Paris: Gauthier-Villars. Laplace, P. S. (1823). Sur l’Attraction des Sphères et sur la Répulsion des Fluides Élastiques. In Traite de Mécanique Céleste (Livre XII, Chapitre II) —reprinted in Ouevres Complètes de Laplace (Vol. 5). Paris: Gauthier-Villars. Laudan, L. (1981). A confutation of convergent realism.

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