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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

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 An Introduction to Newton's Scientific Method
Source:
Isaac Newton's Scientific Method
Author(s):

William L. Harper

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570409.003.0001

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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