Was Isaac Newton an Aristotelian?


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How much of an Aristotelian was Isaac Newton?

1. Newton was an atomist. He believed matter was made up of indivisible parts.

2. Newton believed in absolute space which exists apart and independent of the matter within it.

In addition Newton believed that motion can occur without a continuous external force to preserve the motion. Newton was the first natural philosopher that got inertia right. This is in direct opposition to Aristotle who believed for a body to be in motion an external force must operate on it.

Newton was in the habit of checking out his theories very carefully before publishing. He withheld is work on the motion of the Moon because the figures and his prediction diverged by about ten percent. When a better estimate of the size of the earth and the distance to the moon became available he rechecked. Bingo! His predictions based on his law of gravitation came out on the mark (within the experimental error of his day). Newton's experiments on Optics (or Optiks, as he spelled it) were models of care and craftmenship. Newton is known most as a natural philosopher and an alchemist but he was one of the best experimentalists of all time. Totally different from Aristotle who rarely checked out his conclusions empirically. Which is why Mr. A's theory of matter and motion were either Wrong or Not Even Wrong.

Conclusion; Newton was no Artistotelan.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Edited by BaalChatzaf
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Also, Newton spoke English and Aristotle Greek. And it seems that Aristotle wore robes and Newton wore pants. And then there's the fact that Aristotle wasn't a rabid Christian.

You're right Bob, Newton was no Aristotelian.

Shayne

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  • 2 weeks later...

Also, Newton spoke English and Aristotle Greek. And it seems that Aristotle wore robes and Newton wore pants. And then there's the fact that Aristotle wasn't a rabid Christian.

You're right Bob, Newton was no Aristotelian.

Shayne

You have elevated non-essentials to a fine art.

Newton differed with Aristotle on virtually of of Aristotle's physical assumptions. Aristotle had no concept of inertia which was at the heart of Newtonian mechanics.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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