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Original scientific paper

Josip Franjo Domin’s Exam Thesauri De corpore universim (1785, 1786); Josip Franjo Domin: De corpore universim

Ivica Martinović orcid id ; Kralja Tomislava 4, HR–20000 Dubrovnik

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Full text: english pdf 669 Kb

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Two exam thesauri De corpore universim by Josip Franjo Domin, composed of 25 theses in the field of “experimental physics”, the last published in Györ in 1785 and the first published in Pecs in 1786, saw light soon after the printing of his treatise Dissertatio physica de aeris factitii genesi, natura, et utilitatibus (1784), and expounded the core of natural philosophy in the form of a doctrine of the structure of matter, fundamental forces in nature, and general properties of physical bodies, then mechanics and doctrine of gravitation, along with the basis of chemistry and astronomy. Being published in April 1785 and April 1786, they represent a turning­point in Domin’s views in natural philosophy.
In the 1785 thesaurus, Domin for the first time mentions Bošković by name, and also for the first time proposes a thesis on chemistry as science. The first mention of Bošković’s surname corresponds with Domin’s transformation from a strict Boscovichian, as confirmed in the the sauri from 1778 to 1784, into a natural philosopher who comes forth with his own insights. The thesis on chemistry as “a science subordinated to experimental physics” is the fruit of Domin’s compendium on the chemistry of gases, yet, at the same time, is a programmatic step forward: Domin refers to “the simplest principles” of the bodies as molecules. In the 1786 thesaurus Domin introduces the thesis on inertia, touchstone of the then discussions in the field of natural philosophy.
Therefore, “experimental physics” suggested in the thesauri title does not imply that Domin excluded natural philosophy from his considerations. Quite the reverse: as a “professor of theoretical and experimental physics, mechanics, and agriculture”, Domin is challenged by the legacy of the natural philosophy of the epoch, notably by Newton, Bošković and two Boscovichians – Leopold Biwald in Graz and Ivan Krstitelj Horvath in Tyrnau, Buda and Pest. Thus Domin either tends to mould his views in accordance with Bošković’s natural philosophy, or departs from Bošković or Boscovichians significantly, or shifts towards the natural philosophy of Newton.


Josip Franjo Domin; Ruđer Josip Bošković; Leopold Biwald; Ivan Krstitelj Horvath; Isaac Newton; Aristotle; Cicero; natural philosophy; experimental physics; chemistry; theory of forces; molecule; phlogistone; geocentrism

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