Presented here is a sampling of the best current scholarship on the Principia, its context, and its influence. The essays reflect the depth of inquiry and diversity of research that have characterized the last generation of work on Newton.
The volume opens with an essay by Richard S. Westfall that justifies claims that Newton was the "culmination of the scientific revolution." The I. Bernard Cohen essay that follows illustrates the difference between "mathematical principles" and "natural philosophy." Two complementary papers give new insights into the Newtonian foundations of celestial mechanics: William Harper analyzes Newton's argument for universal gravitation from the perspective of a philosopher of science; Michael S. Mahoney discusses the mathematical aspects of Newton's use of force law to determine planetary orbits.
B. J. T. Dobbs uses her research on alchemy to develop an integrated view of Newton's work, while P. E. Spargo explores the alchemistic theme in his paper on chemical experiments. Studies of comets are linked to the seventeenth-century political context in a novel way by Simon Schaffer. Anita Guerrini proves that Newton's concepts of the structure of matter and ether inspired speculations about the nature of insanity, while Norriss Hetherington shows that Newton's formulation of natural laws served as an inspirational model for Adam Smith's formulation of economic laws.
Arthur Donovan argues that Lavoisier's formulation of chemistry was not carried out in imitation of Newtonian natural philosophy but initiated a new tradition of "positive science." Frank Wilczek looks back from the perspective of contemporary physics and sees the seeds of modern ideas about transformations in Newton's admittedly speculative Queries. The volume concludes with a short overview by Dudley Shapere.
Suitable for undergraduate students and other readers, this volume explains modern technology’s role in the gradual erosion of the rapport between physical theories and philosophical systems, and offers suggestions for restoring the link between these related areas. Dr. Frank examines the ancient Greek concept of natural science to illustrate the development of modern science; then, using geometry as an example, he charts its progress from Euclidean principles through the interpretations of Descartes, Mill, Kant, and the rise of four-dimensional and non-Euclidean geometry. Additional topics include the laws of motion, before and after innovations of Galileo and Newton; perceptions of motion, light, and relativity through the ages; metaphysical interpretations of relativistic physics; the motion of atomic objects and the phenomena and formulations of atomic physics; and the principle of causality and the validation of theories.
In this book, the top specialists of the field pin down the methodological core of transcendental epistemology that must be used in order to throw light on the foundations of modern physics. First, the basic tools Kant used for his transcendental reading of Newtonian Mechanics are examined, and then early transcendental approaches of Relativistic and Quantum Physics are revisited. Transcendental procedures are also applied to contemporary physics, and this renewed transcendental interpretation is finally compared with structural realism and constructive empiricism. The book will be of interest to scientists, historians and philosophers who are involved in the foundational problems of modern physics.
Both a historical treatment and a critical analysis, this work by a noted physicist takes a fascinating look at one of the fundamental and primordial notions in physical theory, the concept of force.
Tracing its development from ancient times to the twentieth century, the author demonstrates how Kepler initiated the scientific conceptualization of the idea of force, how Newton attempted a clear and profound definition, and how post-Newtonian physicists reinterpreted the notion — contrasting the concepts of Leibniz, Boscovich, and Kant with those of Mach, Kirchhoff, and Hertz. In conclusion, the modern trend toward eliminating the concept of force from the conceptual scheme of physical science receives an in-depth analysis.
Philosophically minded readers interested in the basic problems of science will welcome this volume, as will historians of science and physicists who wish to better understand the historical and epistemological foundations of their discipline. Saluted by Science as "an excellent presentation," and by The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science as "a highly stimulating and informative study," Concepts of Force offers an unsurpassed treatment of a vital subject. 1962 edition.
In Living Doubt, 26 papers are presented by some of the world's leading philosophers, demonstrating the rich and cosmopolitan variety of approach to Peirce's epistemology. The contributions are grouped under three general headings: Knowledge, truth and the pragmatic principle; Peirce and the epistemological tradition; and Knowledge, language and semeiotic.