Authors
Zvi Biener
University of Cincinnati
Abstract
Newton's Principia begins with eight formal definitions and a scholium, the so-called scholium on space and time. Despite a history of misinterpretation, scholars now largely agree that the purpose of the scholium is to establish and defend the de fi nitions of key concepts. There is no consensus, however, on how those definitions differ in kind from the Principia's formal definitions and why they are set-off in a scholium. The purpose of the present essay is to shed light on the scholium by focusing on Newton's notion and use of de fi nition. The resulting view is developmental. I argue that when Newton first wrote the Principia, he viewed the scholium's definitions as items of “natural philosophy.” By the time of the third edition, however, he came to view their methodological status differently; he viewed them as belonging to the more qualified “manner of geometers.” I explicate the two methods of natural inquiry and draw out their implications for Newton's account of space.
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsb.2020.05.005
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References found in this work BETA

Newtonian Space-Time.Howard Stein - 1967 - Texas Quarterly 10 (3):174--200.
Newton on Action at a Distance.Steffen Ducheyne - 2014 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (4):675-701.
Newton's Bucket Experiment.Ronald Laymon - 1978 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 16 (4):399--413.
Newton's "Experimental Philosophy".Alan Shapiro - 2002 - Early Science and Medicine 9 (3):185-217.

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