Lecture #5- Newton and the Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Thought

Lecture #5- Newton and the Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Thought

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Newton and the Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Thought- Lecture #5 The uniformity of matter and natural and social sciences. How do we have the same sort of ideas pervasive today? How did they last this long? Possible even to find the laws of history. What are we looking at today? Newton. Principia was his principle writing. Lived a long life, son of a farmer, the posthumous. He is a farm boy basically. Grew up middle class, he was not rich. He went to Cambridge where he waited on tables. Scholarship kid, on his way up on the basis of sheer intellect. Goes to trinity college, Cambridge, 1. Newton’s universe, see diagram. Planets sweep the same amount of space, regardless of where they are in their orbit. Sweeping out takes just as much time. Planet is therefore uniform in motion. Nothing between planets. It’s a vacuum. How does this work? How do the heavently bodies stay in the position. Aristotle told us that they are just balls of light, not physical bodies. Galileo said they are physical entities but he didn’t know how they stayed in their positions. Gilbert said there were magnetic pulls between planets. Newton articulates universal gravitation. Newton didn’t think it would go on forever. History of western science, most famous book ever- Philosophiae Naturalis, Principia Mathematica. Most famous book ever that is probably the most unread book ever. Newton did not resort to algebra to articulate gravity, used geometry only. Locke couldn’t follow the Principia. People told the principia in ordinary principles and made a handbook for the Principia. Law of Gravitation in modern terms: Force = G (m1 x m2) / d^2. Newton did not actually have the calculations. These principles operate in the same way for every body that exists. Here on earth or in heaven. We think of the Principia as a work that explicates the heavens. But it was really about local motion andmeechanics applied to celestial dynamics. It depends upon this notion all bodies are impenetrable. What he means by this is that everything in the world, EVERYTHING, are made up of atoms. His conception of the atom is that it is miniscule, hard and impenetrable. This is 100 years before anyone posited this. Newton cannot do H2O, because atom cant be thought of being made of anything else. There is a force that is applied that though the means of this force that everything are round. The force operates from the centre of the planet.
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