HIS 322D Nov 23 - HIS 322D November 23, 2011 Newton and...

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HIS 322D November 23, 2011 Newton and Newton’s God: Science and Enlightenment Today: Mainly talking about Newton and God, then wrapping up how this affects the scientific revolution. Principia was mainly liked, but there were some criticisms because people wanted an explanation, or a mechanism to explain why things happen. Newton does not believe certain things can be known. Newton states we really only know appearances or effects, and we shouldn’t pretend we know why these things work. We can’t know some things. This is different from Descarates – who thinks we can figure out things by thinking hard of them. Newton says we don’t really have an inside knowledge, and can’t tell this just by thinking about something. Newton drew a sharp distinction between solid conclusions and laws. People like Descartes are deceiving themselves by thinking they know something they can’t really know. There was a nasty dispute about who invented calculus. Leibniz argued with Newton that he created calculus before him, and that Newton should have published. Hypotheses non fingo ” (I frame no hypothesis) – Newton is saying that he’s not going to speculate. He doesn’t have the evidence that anything he makes up is what’s really going on. Newton says it may be possible to find out the ultimate cause of gravity, but it’s never going to be completely ultimate with everything single thing about it found out. Newton also states laws are more useful than mechanisms. These can be used to predict, to tell what’s going to happen, and to explain phenomena. The usefulness of laws serves to explain the motions of the planets and the seas, even though the laws themselves are not explained. Newton did sometimes speculate about the hypothesis. He speculated that gravity is the direct act of God. But, he states that all such hypotheses have no place is experimental philosophy. It is no better to make up a mechanism than to make up that something has sympathies. He is restricting the reach of experimental philosophy, but making it more solid. With optics – Newton is not trying to think up hypothesis, but to show experiments about the
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This note was uploaded on 12/03/2011 for the course HISTORY 322D taught by Professor Hunt during the Fall '11 term at University of Texas.

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HIS 322D Nov 23 - HIS 322D November 23, 2011 Newton and...

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