By J. E. McGuire

ISBN-10: 0521231647

ISBN-13: 9780521231640

Isaac Newton wrote the manuscript Questiones quaedam philosophicae on the very starting of his clinical profession. This small computer hence offers infrequent perception into the beginnings of Newton's notion and the principles of his next highbrow improvement. The Questiones incorporates a sequence of entries in Newton's hand that variety over many subject matters in technology, philosophy, psychology, theology, and the principles of arithmetic. those notes, written in English, supply a really targeted photograph of Newton's early pursuits, and list his serious appraisal of up to date concerns in typical philosophy. Written predominantly in 1664-5, they offer an important standpoint on Newton's notion simply sooner than his annus mirabilis, 1666. This quantity offers a whole transcription of the Questiones, including an 'expansion' into smooth English, and a whole editorial remark at the content material and importance of the computing device within the improvement of Newton's suggestion. it is going to be crucial interpreting for all these attracted to Newton and the highbrow foundations of technological know-how.

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Additional info for Certain philosophical questions: Newton's Trinity Notebook.

Sample text

23 De gen. , I. 2. , IV. 11. 220a 1-25; VI. 1. 231 bOff. IN FIN ITY, IN D IV IS IB IU S M , T H E VOID 37 parts in any actualist sense. Geometry, far from requiring them, is positive evidence for their nonexistence. It is clear that the Aristotelian sensibility regarding unity, divisibility, and individuation is opposed to the Epicurean. For Aristotle himself, the notions of continuity and divisibil­ ity are linked with the individuation of wholes. If two things are contiguous and share a common boundary, they are one thing.

44 COM MENTARY rapidly, directed by a compulsion of thought so characteris­ tic of the man. In the analysis that follows, we shall treat Newton’s arguments in some detail. They are often trun­ cated and sometimes not immediately apparent in their pur­ pose. But more than this, in the course of arguing Newton comes to realize the untenability of the principles he is em­ ploying. The chief consequence of this realization is the perception that his arguments employ three different sorts of indivisibles-the point, the indivisible of quantity, and the unit of num ber-that cannot function together in the nu­ merical model he devises for measuring quantity.

The need to posit time atoms for an indivisibilist account of motion may well have impressed itself on Newton through an acquaintance with Aristotle’s discussion. As we have al­ ready indicated, he made notes on the Organon and ethical writings from the Du Val edition of the Opera omnia. Vol­ ume I (Books III and IV) contains Aristotle’s views on con­ tact, continuity, and motion. Here Newton probably encountered Aristotelian views on topics such as points, minima, the infinite, and divisibility.

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