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Isaac Newton's Scientific MethodTurning Data into Evidence about Gravity and Cosmology$
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William L. Harper

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570409

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570409.001.0001

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An Introduction to Newton's Scientific Method

An Introduction to Newton's Scientific Method

(p.1) 1 An Introduction to Newton's Scientific Method
Isaac Newton's Scientific Method

William L. Harper

Oxford University Press

This chapter includes some historical background on Astronomy, mechanics and physical causes, as well as an overview of Newton’s background framework and his theoretical concept of a centripetal force. It introduces Newton’s Rules for reasoning in natural philosophy and gives an overview of Newton’s argument for universal gravity and its application to the solar system. A comparison with a passage from Huygens on hypothetico-deductive confirmation helps inform Newton’s classic hypotheses non-fingo passage. Lessons on scientific method also include an informative contrast with Laplace’s search for solar system stability, and a contrast between theory acceptance guided by empirical success and mere assignment of high probability.

Keywords:   astronomy, mechanics, physical causes, centripetal force, scientific method, hypotheses non-fingo, hypothetico-deductive, confirmation, Huygens, Laplace

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