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Newtonian Mechanics and its Philosophical Significance

Samaroo, Ryan (2019) Newtonian Mechanics and its Philosophical Significance. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Newtonian mechanics is more than just an empirically successful theory of matter in motion: it is an account of what knowledge of the physical world should look like. But what is this account? What is distinctive about it? To answer these questions, I begin by introducing the laws of motion, the relations among them, and the spatio-temporal framework that is implicit in them. Then I turn to the question of their methodological character. This has been the locus of philosophical discussion from Newton’s time to the present, and I survey the views of some of the major contributors. I show that while Newtonian mechanics motivates a number of philosophical ideas about force, mass, motion, and causality – and through this, ideas about space and time – the laws are themselves the outcome of a philosophical or critical conceptual analysis.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Samaroo, Ryanryan.samaroo@philosophy.ox.ac.uk
Keywords: Newtonian mechanics, constitutive principles, structure of space-time theories, theory of theories, analytic-synthetic distinction, Newton, Kant, conceptual analysis in physics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Depositing User: Dr Ryan Samaroo
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2019 12:08
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2019 12:08
Item ID: 16521
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Classical Physics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Relativity Theory
General Issues > Structure of Theories
Date: 2019
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16521

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