Forced Changes Only: A New Take on the Law of Inertia

Philosophy of Science 90 (1):60-76 (2023)
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Abstract

Newton’s First Law of Motion is typically understood to govern only the motion of force-free bodies. This paper argues on textual and conceptual grounds that it is in fact a stronger, more general principle. The First Law limits the extent to which any body can change its state of motion –– even if that body is subject to impressed forces. The misunderstanding can be traced back to an error in the first English translation of Newton’s Principia, which was published a few years after Newton’s death.

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Daniel Hoek
Virginia Tech

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References found in this work

Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
The Principles of Mathematics.Bertrand Russell - 1903 - Cambridge, England: Allen & Unwin.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):201-202.
Philosophy of Physics: Space and Time.Tim Maudlin - 2012 - Princeton University Press.
The Principles of Mathematics.Bertrand Russell - 1903 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 11 (4):11-12.

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