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Développements précoces du concept de travail mécanique (fin 17e s.-début 18e s.) : quantification, optimisation et profit de l'effet des agents producteurs

Abstract : Taking the early 19th century concept of mechanical work in theoretical physics (popular among such engineers as Coriolis and Navier) as the point of reference, this essay draws a connection between this concept and similar reasoning occurring at the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris at the turn of the 18th century, especially evident in the works of Amontons and Parent. The essay then demonstrates how and why this concept begins to develop in this academic environment, and how it is then adopted, enhanced and modified by Pitot Bélidor, Désaguliers, and D. Bernoulli while seemingly ignored by theorists such as D’Alembert. The role of the breakdown of the conceptualisation of machines as static agents seems decisive. What follows is a strong dependence on the concept of mechanical work for its ability to problem solve and in pursuit of economic gain, particularly as pertains to quantification, optimization and the comparative labour productivity of men, animals and machines. The concept’s history suggests a permanent interplay between theoretical mechanics, practical mechanics and productivity, thus indicating that the legitimacy of the concept lies in its ability to represent the work of producing agents. Finally, the essay attempts to recreate in practical terms the reality behind the concepts and problems, showing what they owe to government strategies and what to the practices of engineers.
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Yannick Fonteneau. Développements précoces du concept de travail mécanique (fin 17e s.-début 18e s.) : quantification, optimisation et profit de l'effet des agents producteurs. Autre [q-bio.OT]. Université Claude Bernard - Lyon I; Università degli studi (Torino, Italia), 2011. Français. ⟨NNT : 2011LYO10125⟩. ⟨tel-00640402v2⟩

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