The Logical Structure of Scientific Explanation and Prediction: Planetary Orbits in a Sun's Gravitational Field

Studia Logica 95 (1/2):207 - 232 (2010)
We present a logically detailed case-study of explanation and prediction in Newtonian mechanics. The case in question is that of a planet's elliptical orbit in the Sun's gravitational field. Care is taken to distinguish the respective contributions of the mathematics that is being applied, and of the empirical hypotheses that receive a mathematical formulation. This enables one to appreciate how in this case the overall logical structure of scientific explanation and prediction is exactly in accordance with the hypotheticodeductive model
Keywords Kepler  Newton  Laws of Motion  Law of Gravitation  planetary orbit  scientific explanation  hypothetico-deductive model  hypotheses  predictions  natural logicism  kinematics  conics  polar coordinates  derivatives  ellipse  focus  directrix  eccentricity  semi-latus rectum  equation of energy
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