Advertisement

Newton’s Views on Aether and Gravitation [1969c]

  • Robert S. Cohen
  • John J. Stachel
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 21)

Abstract

In the Principia [1] Newton presented the theory of gravitation from the point of view which we nowadays call ‘phenomenological’: he based the whole description of planetary motions on an assumed law of dynamical interaction, and deliberately renounced any attempt at accounting for this particular form of interaction between distant bodies by some mechanism of propagation through an intervening medium. This approach was such an innovation that it was thoroughly misunderstood even by the greatest of the contemporary physicists; Huygens in particular objected to it without apparently realizing that he was himself currently using the same logical procedure in his mechanical investigations, when he justified his postulates by pointing to their empirical origin.

Keywords

Mechanical Explanation Contemporary Physicist Material Body Planetary Motion Kinetic Conception 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Bibliography

  1. [1]
    Newton, I., Philosophiae naluralis principia mathematica, first edition 1687.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    The Correspondence of Isaac Newton, (further quoted as Correspondence), vol. 3: letter 399 of January 17. 1692/93, esp., p. 240. [Cambridge University Press, 1959 et Seq. — Ed.].Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    Newton, I., Philosophiae naluralis principia mathematica, second edition 1713: Scholium generale.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    Correspondence, vol. 1: letter 146 to Oldenburg of December 7, 1675, esp., p. 366Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    Correspondence, vol. 2: letter 288 of February 28, 1678/79, esp. p. 295.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    Correspondence, vol. 2: letter 288 of June 20, 1686 and letter 291 of July 27, 1686.Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    Correspondence, vol. 2: letter 288, p. 440.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    Newton, I., Opticks, second edition 1717–18; new Queries numbered 17–24.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    Hall, A. R. and M. B., Unpublished Scientific Papers of Isaac Newton (Cambridge University Press. 1962 ), pp. 321–333, 349–359.Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    Ibid., pp. 183–213.Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    Rosenfeld, L., ‘Newton and the Law of Gravitation’. Archive for History of Exact Sciences 2 (1965), 365. [This volume, p. 58].Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    Correspondence, vol. 2: letter 291, p 447.Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    Aiton E. J., ‘Newton’s Aether Stream Hypothesis and the Inverse Square Law of Gravitation’, Annals of Science 25 (1969). 255–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    Gagnebin, B., ‘De la cause de la pesanteur, mémoire de Nicolas Fatio de Duillier’. Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 6 (1949). 105 (further quoted as ‘Gagnebin’).Google Scholar
  15. [15]
    Œuvres complètes de C. Huygens (further quoted as ‘Œuvfes’), vol. 19, p. 619; vol. 21, p. 379. [Nijhoff, The Hague.]Google Scholar
  16. [16]
    Œuvres, vol. 9, p. 167 (also Correspondence, vol. 2: letter 307, and Gagnebin, p. 109)Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    Gagnebin, pp. 114–115 (also Correspondence, vol. 3: letter 352, note (1), p. 69, where the second entry, however, is wrongly interpreted as referring to the exposition of Fatio’s own theory).Google Scholar
  18. [18]
    Œuvres, vol. 21, p. 429.Google Scholar
  19. [19]
    Correspondence, vol. 3: letter 463, p. 390.Google Scholar
  20. [20]
    Œuvres, vol. 9, p. 381.Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    Gagnebin, pp. 115–116.Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    Gagnebin, pp. 116–117.Google Scholar
  23. [23]
    Gagnebin, pp. 154–158 (also, but incomplete. Œuvres, vol. 9, p. 391).Google Scholar
  24. [24]
    Œuvres, vol. 9, p. 407 (letter to Huygens of April 11. 1690).Google Scholar
  25. [25]
    Œuvres, vol. 10, p. 608 (also Correspondence, vol. 3: letter 440).Google Scholar
  26. [26]
    Loc. cit. in note 9, p. 313.Google Scholar
  27. [27]
    Œuvres, vol. 10, p. 354.Google Scholar
  28. [28]
    Œuvres, vol. 10, p. 613 (letter to Leibniz of May 29, 1694 (n.s.)) and p. 669 (letter to Leibniz of August 24. 1694 (n.s.)).Google Scholar
  29. [29]
    Œuvres, vol. 10, p. 603 (letter to Huygens of April 26. 1694 (n.s.)) and p. 644 (letter to Huygens of June 22. 1694 (n.s.)).Google Scholar
  30. [30]
    Correspondence, vol. 2, note (4) to letter 275, p. 412.Google Scholar
  31. [31]
    Correspondence, vol. 2: letter 276 of January’ 12, 1684/85 to Flamsteed.Google Scholar
  32. [32]
    Newton, I., Optiks (translated by S. Clarke) 1706, quaestio 23 (= Query 31 in later editions); see also Robinet, A., (ed.), Correspondance Leibniz-Clarke (Presses Universitaires de France, Paris 1957). [See H. G. Alexander, ed., The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence (Manchester University Press, Manchester, England, 1956) — Ed.].Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert S. Cohen
  • John J. Stachel

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations