Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)

Authors
Robert Rynasiewicz
Johns Hopkins University
Abstract
Isaac Newton founded classical mechanics on the view that space is something distinct from body and that time is something that passes uniformly without regard to whatever happens in the world. For this reason he spoke of absolute space and absolute time, so as to distinguish these entities from the various ways by which we measure them (which he called relative spaces and relative times). From antiquity into the eighteenth century, contrary views which denied that space and time are real entities maintained that the world is necessarily a material plenum. Concerning space, they held that the idea of empty space is a conceptual impossibility. Space is nothing but an abstraction we use to compare different arrangements of the bodies constituting the plenum. Concerning time, they insisted, there can be no lapse of time without change occurring somewhere. Time is merely a measure of the cycles of change within the world
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Newton’s Conceptual Argument for Absolute Space.Ori Belkind - 2007 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (3):271 – 293.
The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence as a Case Study for the Historiography of Physics.Matt Waldschlagel - 2020 - Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science 8:59.

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