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Newton and the Law of Gravitation [1965d]

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

Abstract

There has been recently a welcome revival of Newtonian studies. The Royal Society has at long last made a start with the publication of the correspondence1. Various scholars have brought to light much interesting new evidence from the too long neglected Newton manuscripts2. For the first time a thorough and competent study3 has been made of a side of his activity which had hitherto remained obscure: his historical researches, coloured by theological considerations, to which he himself attached great importance. By piecing together all this new evidence with long known, but little understood facts, one arrives, as I intend to show, at a view of Newton’s personality rather different from the traditional one. The latter is very much influenced by hero worship4, but it does not help to react to this — as recent biographers are inclined to do — by hero debunking. Newton’s personality is not easy to understand: secretive and suspicious as he was, one has to catch him, so to speak, in unguarded moments to get a glimpse of his thoughts and of his passions. To reconstruct a coherent portrait from the scraps of evidence gleaned from his papers, his letters and his actions is a hard detective work, but a rewarding one.

Keywords

Royal Society Centrifugal Force Circular Motion Centrifugal Acceleration Inertial Motion 
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.

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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert S. Cohen
  • John J. Stachel

There are no affiliations available

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