Point atom

Boscovich and his force–distance curves
Roger Boscovich (1711-1787) and his force–distance curve from the dissertation De viribus vivis, published in 1745. Letters identify 'limit points' where attraction turns into repulsion and vice versa, inflection points, maxima and minima and so on. (The dissertation presents many of the concepts successively exposed in Philosophiae naturalis theoria). Other versions of the Boscovich force law present more oscillations around the horizontal axis. [4]
In hmolscience, point atom is a theory that the considers the human to be an atom, not in the modern hydrogen atom point of view, but in the Boscovich-Priestly atomic theory view of an atom being a point center of force. [1]

The point atom theory was developed by English chemist Humphry Davy in 1813. [2] The following quote by Davy seems to be representative of his human point atom view: [3]

“The true chemical philosopher sees good in all the diversified forms of the external world. Whilst he investigates the operations of infinite power guided by infinite wisdom, all low prejudices, all mean superstitions disappear from his mind. He sees man an atom amidst atoms fixed upon a point in space ; and yet modifying the laws that are around him by understanding them; and gaining, as it were, a kind of dominion over time, and an empire in material space, and exerting on a scale infinitely small a power seeming a sort of shadow or reflection of a creative energy, and which entitles him to the distinction of being made in the image of god and animated by a spark of the divine mind. Whilst chemical pursuits exalt the understanding, they do not depress the imagination or weaken genuine feelings; whilst they give the mind habits of accuracy, by obliging it to attend to facts, they likewise extend its analogies; and, though conversant with the minute forms of things, they have for their ultimate end the great and magnificent objects of nature.”

(add discussion)

In 1865, Friedrich Nietzsche discovered the work of Arthur Schopenhauer and his emphasis on “will” and the concept of “will to live”, and, the following year, through a reading of Friedrich Lange’s 1865 History of Materialism, discovered the work of Roger Boscovich and his Theory of Natural Philosophy, and through these went on to develop a “centers of force” (see: atomic theory) theory of “will to power” as the embodiment of what Nietzsche believed was the main driving force in man. [5]

1. Knight, David. (1998). Humphry Davy: Science and Power (pg. 76). Cambridge University Press.
2. Levere, Trevor, H. (1971). Affinity and Matter – Elements of Chemical Philosophy 1800-1865 (point atom, pg. 68). Great Britain: Oxford University Press.
3. Davy, Humphry. (1840). “Dialogue Five: the Chemical Philosopher”, in: The Collected Works of Humphry Davy (pg. 361). Smith, Elder, and Co.
4. Malescio, Gianpietro. (2003). “Intermolecular Potentials: Past, Present, and Future” (image), Nature Materials, 2:501-03.
5. (a) Will to power – Wikipedia.
(b) Nietzsche, Friedrich (1901). The Will to Power. 1968 Engl. Trans. Vintage.

TDics icon ns

More pages