The mechanical worldview refers to the Newtonian view of the universe, according to which all natural phenomena arise from the interactions among moving matter. This matter obeys Newton's three laws of motion, involving action and reaction, force and acceleration, and inertia. According to Newton, all matter consists of small particles, which the English chemist John Dalton referred to as "atoms" in the first decade of the nineteenth century. The motion of atoms was set against a background of an infinitely flat "absolute space" and a strictly linear "absolute time." Over the course of the century, chemists and physicists struggled to come to terms with the existence of atoms and their properties. Even Newton had not been completely comfortable with a strictly mechanical view of the universe, because mechanics seemed unable to account for his law of universal
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This note was uploaded on 12/14/2011 for the course BIO 1320 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '09 term at Texas State.