Newton’s Physics and the Conceptual Structure of the Scientific Revolution Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science Volume 127. Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

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Newton’s Physics and the Conceptual Structure of the Scientific Revolution (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science Volume 127. Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Acknowledgement xiii

Introduction xv

Part I: The Tradition

Chapter 1. Aristotelian and platonic conceptions of explanation 1

1. Introduction

2. Aristotle’s notorious blunder

3. The accepted explanation and its distortion of Aristotle’s physics.

4. The accepted explanation and the dissolution of the scientific revolution

5. The essence of the scientific revolution

6. Informative and non-informative concepts of explanation

7. The irrationality of informative explanation

8. The rationality of non-informative explanation: Aristotle’s example

9. Some paradoxes of the new empiricism: forces, God, souls and space and time

10. The place of God in informative science

11. The place of spirit in informative science

12. Absoluteness of space and time in informative science

Chapter 2. Aristotle’s philosophy of nature and theory of potentiality 15

1. The two potentialities

2. The nature of consistency potentiality

3. The nature of genuine potentiality

4. The nullity of potentiality

5. Potentiality, lack and the coincidental

6. The priority of the actual

7. The rationality of genuine potentiality

8. Potentiality and the theory of motion

9. “Form” is not “another” and cannot be moved by another

10. What, then, moves the five elements?

11. Can potentiality be the mover?

12. The ontology of the two potentialities in action

13. First movers and the physics.

14. The ontology of the syllogism

15. The physics of the syllogism

16. The potentiality of the infinite and the non-informativity of mathematics.

Chapter 3. Plato’s concept of the actual and his philosophy of nature 45

1. Socrates’ search for scientific explanation

1.1. Socrates’ puzzles and his view of explanation

1.2. Socrates’ attack on Anaxagoras

1.3. The informativity of the Forms

1.4. Teleology and Aristotle’s critique of Plato’s Forms

2. Causality, invisibility, and Plato’s informative explanation

2.1. Explanation and the invisibility of real causes

2.2. Mixture, necessity and the new explanation

2.3. Soul, motion and medial entities

2.4. Medial entities, bastard knowledge, and the inherence of paradox

2.5. Circular reasoning and the discovery of bastard knowledge.

Part II: The logical revolution

Introduction 72

Chapter 4. The Copernican harmony 75

1. Copernicus’ harmony and the Copernican revolution

2. The monster: Ptolemaic astronomy

3. Regularities and regularities of regularities

4. Error and hypothesis: the Platonic connection

5. Copernicus’ harmony

6. Harmony and the informativity of Copernicus’ astronomy

Chapter 5. Bacon’s informative logic 94

1. Inductive logic and informativity

2. The meaning of Forms

3. Latent configuration and latent process

4. Prediction and informativity

5. Bacon’s platonism and final circularity

Chapter 6. Informativity and paradox: Galileo’s conception of the nature of physical reality 105

1. Galileo’s method and his Fallacia Consequentis

2. Ex Suppositione argument as demonstrative: free fall and parabolic motion

3. Attempts to rescue Galileo: (1) Wallace

4. Attempts to rescue Galileo: (2) Wisan

5. The solution: when do phenomena entail their hidden essentia?

6. The ontology of zero and the void: the clash with Aristotle

7. Galileo’s platonic ontology: the actuality of the potential, the nature of the resultant, and the “Book of Nature”

8. Galileo on the actual infinite and the method of paradox

9. The structure of acceleration

10. Koyre’s conception of platonism and Galileo’s inertial motion

11. Galileo’s conception of inertial motion

12. Galileo’s concept of permanent impetus

13. Galileo’s rejection of natural motion

14. Galileo’s inertial motion as a process

15. Galileo’s circular arguments

16. Attempts to rescue Galileo: (3) Drake and Mertz

17. Limbo entities, mixed science, and circularity

Chapter 7: Descartes’ informative logic 172

1. Descartes’ conception of deduction

2. Descartes’ logical revolt and the cogito

3. Two novel circularities?

4. Distinctness, adequacy and completeness – circularity is definitely in!

5. Descartes’ ontology of essences: dispute against the nominalists

6. The inevitability of separate essences in Descartes’ ontology

7. Cartesian Platonism: a note on Malebranche’s interpretation of Descartes

8. Cartesian orthodoxy – Arnauld’s interpretation and its failure

9. The absoluteness of motion and of conatus

10. The internality of conatus and its counter-actuality

11. Motion and shape as modes and the essence of matter

12. The identity of motion: extension and the absoluteness of motion

13. Why is motion a “mere mode”?

14. The paradoxality of motion

15. The invisibility of nature, law, and the conservation of state

16. Inertia, state, and existence in an instant

17. Inertial motion as an actual potentiality

18. Componential vs. resultant entities

19. The nature of time and the principle of inertia

20. The paradox of analysis

21. Informativity and the heterogeneity of analysis and synthesis

22. Informativity and causality

23. Informativity and circularity

Part III: Newton’s physics and its critics

Chapter 8. Actual infinity and Newton’s calculus 238

1. The platonic presuppositions of Newton’s limit theory

2. The aristotelian character of Greek exhaustion theory

3. The “ultimate ratio” as a new category of existence

4. The structure of a point: process during an instant and the infinitesimal nature of the limit

5. Newton’s implicit acceptance of the infinitesimal and his explicit acceptance of actual infinity

Chapter 9. Newton’s logic of space and time 253

1. Newton’s principle of the distinctness of indiscernibles

2. The actuality of space and its medial ontology

3. The actuality of geometric forms in space

4. The platonic logic of Newton’s inertial motion

Chapter 10. Modern Newtonian historiography:

the puzzle of Newton’s absolute space 269

1. The aristotelian foundation of Westfall’s interpretation of Newton

2. The aristotelian foundation of Herivel’s interpretation

3. The aristotelian foundation Cohen’s interpretation

4. Cohen’s concept of “Newtonian style”

Chapter 11. Absolute motion and the nature of inertial forces 287

1. Newton’s Bucket is not an attempt to prove the reality of motion or of space

2. The Bucket intends to prove that absolute motion can be observed even in a single body

3. The Bucket presupposes absolute form and space.

4. The “effects” of motion and Newton’s inertial forces.

5. The distinctness of inertial force from body and from motion

6. The splitting of the force of inertia

7. Curved motion as an equilibrium

8. Inertial force as a causal agent and the transformation of internal and external forces

9. The laws of motion and the classification of forces

10. Inertial force as cause and the mechanism of inertial deformation

11. Force and essence: the separability of inertial force

12. Two kinds of essentiality and the Bentley correspondence

13. Primary, essential, and universal forces

14. Inertial force as a force at a distance

Chapter 12. Locke and the meaning of “empiricism” 319

1. Locke’s conception of essence

2. Locke on the impossibility of real science and the existence of necessary yet informative truths

3. Locke’s so called empiricism and God’s super-addition

4. The merge of logic and physics

5. Association of ideas and inconceivability

6. Inconceivability and the necessity of mathematical truths

7. The necessity of essential links

8. Locke’s presupposition of inborn associations

Chapter 13. Newton’s invention of the problem of induction 342

1. The triviality of the problem of induction

2. Newton’s abolishment of the hypothetico-deductive method

3. The search for an uncertainty element: correspondence with Cotes and the first appearance of the problem of induction

4. “If Cotes had lived” – Cotes’ preface

5. The conceptual content of Law III and the logic of its applicability

6. Some modern attitudes to the Cotes affair

7. The emergence of restricted universality: the Leibniz-Clarke dispute 1715-16

8. The final resolution: the uncertainty of future exceptions – the 1717 Opticks and the 1726 Principia

9. The meaning and role of the Fourth Rule of Philosophizing, 1726

10. Platonic and aristotelian problems of induction

Chapter 14. Circularity and Newton’s philosophy of nature 398

1. The Duhem-Popper argument and other puzzles

1.1. The importance of Duhem’s arguments

1.2. A scheme of Newton’s derivation in the Principia and the formal arguments of Duhem and Popper

1.3. Three new puzzles and the letter to Halley

1.4. Split reference and a primary interpretation of the Halley letter

1.5. Splitting the unobserved reality realm: componential and resultant denotations in the Principia proofs and further interpretation of the Halley letter

1.6. Resolution of the irrationality puzzle: the different referential import of the premises and consequences of the Principia, and the double functionality of the premises

1.7. Resolution of the second puzzle by the double function of the premises: in what sense Newton did not guess Kepler’s ellipse

1.8. Some further textual evidence

2. The vicious circle principle of Newton’s physics, and the empirical philosophy of the scientific revolution

2.1. Summary and introduction to the vicious circle argument - the first example: Kepler motion

2.2. The second example of circular proof: the inverse square law

2.3. The third example of circular proof: absolute space

2.4. The fourth example of circular proof: the Copernican system

2.5. The fifth example of circular proof: the sine law for monochromatic light

2.6. the first critique of Newton’s circular argument: George Gordon

2.7. Circularity and deviant logic

Chapter 15. Leibniz’s aristotelian philosophy of nature 437

1. Equivalent explanations and the nature of forces

2. Leibniz’ aristotelian theory of space and time

3. The identity of the subject and its predicate-sequence

4. Divine conceptualism

5. The sea-battle and Leibniz’s apologetics

6. Entelechies, souls, nature, and analyticity

7. Leibniz’s response to the platonic attacks and the aristotelian structure of the Theodicy apology

8. Natural motion and the automaton

9. Leibniz aristotelianism and his critique of gravitation

10. Leibniz’ concept of actual infinity

11. Equivalence and Leibniz’ conventionalism

Chapter 16. Berkeley’s aristotelian critique of Newton’s physics 476

1. Berkeley’s Aristotelian critique of the calculus

2. Berkeley’s aristotelian foundation for the calculus: (1) The compensation of errors.

3. Berkeley’s aristotelian foundation for the calculus: (2) The analytico-geometrical equation.

4. The ineffectivity of Berkeley’s critique

5. Berkeley’s rejection of heterogeneous ratios and the critique of fluxions

6. Berkeley’s late critique of Newtonian forces as potentialities and his identification of force and motion

7. Berkeley’s non-dynamic conception of nature

8. Berkeley’s ontology and his view of scientific explanation

9. The failure of Berkeley’s relativism

Epilogue 506

Appendix: Some basic ideas in Newton’s physics 513

Notes 520

Bibliography 559

Index 581

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