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Newton's Philosophy of Nature: Selections from His Writings Paperback – September 20, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (September 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486445933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486445939
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rama Rao VINE VOICE on July 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book reflects on the mind and thought of Isaac Newton, one of the greatest physicists, through his writings. Principia and Opticks are the masterpieces of his accomplishments, but we get a glimpse of him through his letters to friends, fellow physicists, and philosophers of his time. The influence of Christian church in his thought is significant and found in numerous writings, which invokes God as the Supreme Being who gave us the laws of physics; the laws of motion, gravitation and geometry, to create the physical reality we experience. Albert Einstein also invoked God in many of his discussions, but Einstein thought God as an entity, but Newton's view of Christian God illustrates the influence of faith and belief on people of his time. In spite of this, many of his peers' interpreted Newtonian mechanics proves the independent nature of our world. The concept of absolute space, absolute time and absolute motion was criticized by theologians, including Bishop Berkeley and Leibniz, who regarded them as relative. But his newfound rationalism inspired many 18th century and future physicists that paved the way for more radical and newer way of scientific thinking that progressively diminished the impact of religious beliefs in scientific thought. Recently Stephen Hawking, a highly respected physicist of our time, stated that there is no God and no heaven. The truth of scientific enquiry is accepted by more people than ever before.

The first two chapters of this book discuss the principles of Newtonian dynamics and methods in philosophy. The third chapter is most interesting as it deals with physical reality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven H. Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 16, 2014
Format: Paperback
This well-balanced collection of Newton's writings is subdivided into sections on "The Method of Natural Philosophy"; "Fundamental Principles of Natural Philosophy" [including excerpts from his Principia]; "God and Natural Philosophy"; "Questions on Natural Philosophy"; and "Questions from the Optics."

Newton admits, "hitherto I have not been able to discover the cause of those properties of gravity from phenomena, and I frame no hypotheses; for whatever is not deduced from the phenomena is to be called a hypothesis, and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy... to us it is enough that gravity does really exist and act according to the laws which we have explained, and abundantly serves to account for all the motions of the celestial bodies and of our sea." (Pg. 45) Later, he adds, “Gravity must be caused by an agent acting constantly according to certain laws, but whether this agent be material or immaterial I have left to the consideration of my readers.” (Pg. 54)

He states, “When I wrote my treatise about our system, I had an eye upon such principles as might work with considering men for the belief of a Deity; and nothing can rejoice me more than to find it useful for that purpose.” (Pg. 46) He suggests, “So, then, gravity may put the planets into motion, but without the divine power it could never put them into such a circulating motion as they have about the sun; and therefore, for this as well as other reasons, I am compelled to ascribe the frame of this system to an intelligent Agent.” (Pg. 53)

He argues, “Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By rciardetti on March 12, 2013
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It is hard to imagine a mind as great as Newton. This book has some nice selections of writings. Sometimes I am too stupid to understand them though!
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By Joaquim Nunes Narciso on August 30, 2014
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Perfect.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Johnstonius on February 11, 2014
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This does not seem to be a totally comprehensive review as it does not take any account of his voluminous alchemical writings, for example, and perhaps another introduction to this edition would be appropriate, along with supplementary diagrams to his explainations. Nevertheless, it is does transcribe Newton's rather free 16C spelling without spoiling his racy English and translates where he slips into his equally good Latin.
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