Friday, September 7, 2007

Re-Voltaire: The Shaping of the Modern World & etc

drawing by marguerita
Following the worldwide encounters-with war-wrecks,earthquakes,
pestilence,and human insanity,and the incomparably absurd status quo,the best of all,besides Newton's Principia Mathematica:
Scientific Revolution


Rule I. We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.
To this purpose the philosophers say that Nature does nothing in vain, and more is in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity, and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.
Rule II. Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes.
As to respiration in a man and in a beast; the descent of stones [meteorites) in Europe and in America; the light of our culinary fire and of the sun; the reflection of light in the earth, and in the planets.
Rule III. The qualities of bodies, which admit neither [intensification] nor remission of degrees, and which are found to belong to all bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to he esteemed the universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever.
For since the qualities of bodies are only known to us by experiments, we are to hold for universal all such as universally agree with experiments; and such as are not liable to,, diminution can never be quite taken -away. We are certainly not to relinquish the evidence of experiments for the sake of dreams and vain fictions of our own devising;

nor are we to recede from the analogy of Nature, which [is) ... simple, and always consonant to itself.
We no other way know the extension of bodies than by our senses,
nor do these reach it in all bodies; but because we perceive extension in all that are sensible, therefore, we ascribe it universally to all others also. That abundance of bodies are hard, we learn by experience;
and because the hardness of the whole arises from the hardness of the parts, we, therefore, justly infer the hardness of the undivided particles not only of the bodies we feel but of all others.
That all bodies are impenetrable, we gather not from reason, but from sensation.
The bodies which we handle we find impenetrable,persevering in their motion, or in their rest
and thence, conclude impenetrability to be an universal property of all bodies whatsoever. That all bodies are moveable, and endowed with certain powers (which we call...[inertia]) of And this is the foundation of all philosophy....
Lastly, if it universally appears, by experiments and astronomical observations, that all bodies about the earth gravitate towards the earth.

We must, in consequence or this rule, universally allow that all bodies whatsoever are endowed with a principle of mutual gravitation....

Isaac Newton (1646-1723) was a mathematics professor at Oxford University. His work Principia Mathematica (1687) is generally regarded as the most important work of the Scientific Revolution.

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