Newton’s Scientific and Philosophical Legacy pp 135-150 | Cite as

# The Surprises of Newtonian Determinism

## Abstract

On the fifth day of July 1987, it will have been exactly three centuries ago that Newton’s celebrated *Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica* rolled off the press into the diligent hands of E. Halley. This work may truly be regarded as the temple of Newton’s determinism, and, albeit more generally and more loosely, of Newtonian determinism. The distinction is obvious enough. It is indeed a fact that three hundred years after the publication of the *Principia*, we still describe motion essentially in terms of differential equations, thereby following Newton’s original choice and decision.

## Keywords

Quantum Mechanics Structural Concept Scientific Revolution Differentiable Manifold Regulative Concept## Preview

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## Notes

- 1.Cfr. V.I. Arnold, Mathematical Means of Classical Mechanics (Moskow: Mir, 1972 sqq.). By the way, much of the mathematical apparatus used by Prigogine and by present-day chaotic determinists is to be found in the numerous and ample appendices provided by Arnold who considers that apparatus as an integral part of classical mechanics.Google Scholar
- 2.See also his Draft of the Commercium Epistolicum of 1712.Google Scholar
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- 5.I have coined the expression of the “4 S View of Theories” to designate the Suppes-Sneed-Stegmulller Structuralist view of Theories.Google Scholar
- 6.I borrowed the expression “regulative concepts” from S. Toulmin.Google Scholar
- 7.Of course, their very mathematical nature always allows for the complete translation of one such language into the others, but their use by physicists can differ considerably, depending on the difference in their heuristic power.Google Scholar
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- 10.John Herivel, The Background to Newton’s Principia (Oxford: Clarendon, 1965).Google Scholar
- 11.A.R. Hall and M.B. Hall, Unpublished Papers of Isaac Newton (Cambridge: U. Press, 1962) op. cit., p. 20.Google Scholar
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*Dictionary of Scientific Biography*(New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974), X, pp. 49–50.Google Scholar - 14.P. Scheurer, “Quantum Kinetics; An Extension of Quantum Structure beyond Mechanics,” in
*Arch. Sc. Genève, 40*(1987), pp. 57–64.Google Scholar - 15.P.B. Scheurer, “Reversible Motion and Irreversible Evolution. Quantum Kinetics and the Postulate TEI,”
*Arch. Sc. Genève 37*(1984), pp. 229–264.Google Scholar - 18.G.W. Mackey,
*Induced Representation of Groups and Quantum Mechanics*(New York: Benjamin, 1968), pp. 57–58.Google Scholar - 19.A.R. Hall and M.B. Hall, Unpublished Papers of Isaac Newton p. 333.Google Scholar
- 20.Ibid. p. 321.Google Scholar
- 21.Ibid.Google Scholar