Foundations of Science 11 (4):419-447 (2006)

Steffen Ducheyne
University of Ghent
In this paper an analysis of Newton’s argument for universal gravitation is provided. In the past, the complexity of the argument has not been fully appreciated. Recent authors like George E. Smith and William L. Harper have done a far better job. Nevertheless, a thorough account of the argument is still lacking. Both authors seem to stress the importance of only one methodological component. Smith stresses the procedure of approximative deductions backed-up by the laws of motion. Harper stresses “systematic dependencies” between theoretical parameters and phenomena. I will argue that Newton used a variety of different inferential strategies: causal parsimony considerations, deductions, demonstrative inductions, abductions and thought-experiments. Each of these strategies is part of Newton’s famous argument.
Keywords argumentative pluralism  Newton   Principia  universal gravitation
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DOI 10.1007/s10699-005-3189-9
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References found in this work BETA

Theory and Evidence.Clark N. Glymour - 1980 - Princeton University Press.
Theory and Evidence.Clark Glymour - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (3):498-500.
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Citations of this work BETA

Thought Experiments.Yiftach J. H. Fehige & James R. Brown - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 25 (1):135-142.
Thought Experiments: State of the Art.Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach Fehige & James R. Brown - 2018 - In Michael T. Stuart, Yiftach Fehige & James Robert Brown (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Thought Experiments. London, UK: Routledge. pp. 1-28.
Kant on Newton, Genius, and Scientific Discovery.Bryan Hall - 2014 - Intellectual History Review 24 (4):539-556.
La metodología de Newton y la demonstración de la realidad de la fuerza.Sebastián Molina Betancur - 2014 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 50:131-154.

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