Beyond Hypotheses: Newton's Methodology vs. Hypothetico‐Deductive Methodology
Part I. Some methodological remarks from Newton: Gravity as pair-wise interactions between bodies is compatible with a variety of possible locally acting causes. Empirically establishing conditions of forces from phenomena is to precede and inform any further investigations into their physical causes. Part II. A challenge to Newton’s application of Law 3 to count gravity as a pair-wise interaction and his appeal to Law 1 to defend it. Part III. Counting gravity between solar system bodies as mutual attractions: Hypothetico-deductive inference is not enough. Rule 3 may do it. Part IV. Rule 4 makes accumulating empirical success in solar system measurements support acceptance of Newton’s inference against rivals motivated by a commitment to avoid action at a distance; but, it argues against turning Newton’s ideal of empirical success as accurate measurement into a necessary criterion for counting a proposition as having empirical support sufficient to warrant accepting it.
Keywords: Newton on method, locally acting causes, forces from phenomena, physical causes, action at a distance, Law 3, Law 1, gravity as attraction, ideal of empirical success, criterion for acceptance
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