Journal Article

Newtonian Forces

Jessica Wilson

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 58, issue 2, pages 173-205
Published in print June 2007 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online May 2007 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axm004
Newtonian Forces

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Newtonian forces are pushes and pulls, possessing magnitude and direction, that are exerted (in the first instance) by objects, and which cause (in particular) motions. I defend Newtonian forces against the four best reasons for denying or doubting their existence. A running theme in my defense of forces will be the suggestion that Newtonian Mechanics is a special science, and as such has certain prima facie ontological rights and privileges, that may be maintained against various challenges. 1

Introduction

2

Newtonian mechanics ontologically irrelevant? 2.1

because superseded in classical contexts?

2.2

because only restrictedly applicable?

2.3

because incompatible with more fundamental theories?

3

Are forces fictions?

4

Are forces ontologically redundant?

5

Do forces induce causal overdetermination? 5.1

Response: Newtonian forces as aspects

5.2

Response: forces as intermediaries

6

Conclusion

Journal Article.  14688 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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