Chapter

The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy

Stephen Gaukroger

in The Collapse of Mechanism and the Rise of Sensibility

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199594931
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595745 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199594931.003.0003
The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy

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It was around Newton's Principia that most of the issues in eighteenth‐century natural philosophy hinged. The chapter explores the differences between the prevailing cosmological system, that of Descartes, and that of Newton. It offers an exposition of the three books of the Principia, with a view to identifying what Newton's successors took up and what they rejected. Newton's problems with the physics of fluids and with gravity are explored.

Keywords: René Descartes; cosmological system; Isaac Newton; gravity; fluids; force

Chapter.  20488 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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