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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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Generalization by Induction (Propositions 5 and 6 Book 3)

Generalization by Induction (Propositions 5 and 6 Book 3)

(p.257) 7 Generalization by Induction (Propositions 5 and 6 Book 3)
Isaac Newton's Scientific Method

William L. Harper

Oxford University Press

Part I is devoted to Newton’s argument for proposition 5 and his important Rule 4 for reasoning in natural philosophy. Rule 4 is a very informative characterization of theory acceptance for Newton and for scientific method today. Part II is devoted to Newton’s argument for proposition 6 and his important Rule 3. The phenomena cited count as agreeing measurements of equal acceleration components toward planets for all bodies at any equal distances from their centers. These measure equal ratios of weight to mass for attracted bodies at equal distances. They include absence of polarization toward the sun of orbits of moons about planets. The agreement of all these measurements supports an interpretation of Rule 3 which informs the role of theory-mediated measurements in supporting scientific inferences today. The appendix gives details of polarization calculations.

Keywords:   Newton’s Rule 4, theory acceptance, scientific method, Newton’s Rule 3, gravity toward planets, equal accelerations at equal distances, equal ratios of weight to mass, polarized orbits, agreeing theory-mediated measurements, scientific inferences

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