Review of Metaphysics 27 (1):152-153 (1973)

The year 1666, on Newton’s own testimony, was the "wonderful year" wherein, at the tender age of 24, he developed the fundamental principles of the integral calculus, verified the composite nature of sunlight, and satisfied himself by calculation that the earth’s gravitation holds the moon in its orbit. Fittingly to commemorate the third centenary of that year, and at the same time to bring together the considerable results of recent Newtonian scholarship, Robert Palter organized a symposium at the University of Texas in Austin on November 10-12, 1966. The proceedings of that symposium, including sixteen major papers by scholars of international reputation and the comments they elicited from learned colleagues, first appeared in The Texas Quarterly, Vol. 10, no. 3 ; they are now made available to a larger reading public in this book, many in revised and expanded form. Not all of the contributions will interest the philosopher, but the attention of those specializing in the philosophy of science is directed particularly to R. S. Westfall’s and I. B. Cohen’s scholarly articles on Newton’s optical theories and on his force concept respectively, both of which contain considerable material for philosophical analysis. Of more general significance are Palter’s own treatment of Newton’s inductive method, Howard Stein’s analysis of Newtonian space-time, and J. H. Randall’s reflection on the religious consequences of Newton’s thought. One of the most stimulating articles is Dudley Shapere’s evaluation of the philosophical significance of Newton’s science, made in the context of his on-going debate with T. S. Kuhn and P. K. Feyerabend, which sheds yet further light on the problems of meaning invariance and scientific change.—W. A. W.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1973271176
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