# The Cambridge Companion to Newton (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy)

## I. Bernard Cohen

Language: English

Pages: 516

ISBN: 0521656966

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Sir Isaac Newton was one of the greatest scientists of all time, a thinker of extraordinary range and creativity who has left enduring legacies in mathematics and the natural sciences. In this volume a team of distinguished contributors examines the principal aspects of Newton's thought. They include not only his approach to space, time, mechanics, and universal gravity in Principia and his research in optics and mathematics, but also his lesser known clandestine investigations into alchemy, theology, and prophecy.

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Dobbs wrote two books on the subject, summarizing her findings and conjectures.12 Her conclusions are of real significance for any philosopher wishing to understand the mind of Newton. Figala has rather concentrated on what she conceives to be Newton’s hierarchy of matter. Her most complete presentation is available in a major monograph in German, published in 1984.13 She has also summarized her findings in a lengthy essay-review of Dobbs’s first book on Cambridge Companions Online ©IPCambridge

Curvature method P α φ Q P C Fig. 3.5 Illustrating how a segment PP of an orbit is obtained by rotating the radius of curvature vector PQ into P Q about its fixed center of curvature Q through an angle , while the center of force is located at C. The dashed lines PC and P C are the radial positions with respect to C, and the angle alpha is the angle between the tangent to the curve at P and the radial line PC. Cambridge Companions Online ©IPCambridge University Downloaded from Cambridge

philosophy” departed most radically from the prevailing “mechanical philosophy.” Cambridge Companions Online ©IPCambridge University Downloaded from Cambridge Companions Online by 132.205.7.55 on Sun Apr 07 Press, 22:41:122006 WEST 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521651778.005 Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2013 The methodology of the Principia 151 The law characterizing a force from a physical point of view gives its “physical proportions” and assigns it to a

Principia 165 Objections against the Conclusions, but such as are taken from Experiments, or other certain Truths. For Hypotheses are not to be regarded in experimental Philosophy. And although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of the Thing admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from

Newton’s discussion makes it clear that he intends this measure to be appropriate to a centripetal acceleration field – a centripetal force field that would produce equal centripetal accelerations on unsupported bodies at equal distances from the center. The harmonic law ratio for a system of orbits about a common center requires that the orbits exhibit centripetal accelerations corresponding to a single inverse-square centripetal acceleration field. The absolute measure of such a centripetal