Representing Space in the Scientific Revolution by David Marshall Miller

By David Marshall Miller

The radical figuring out of the actual global that characterised the clinical Revolution trusted a basic shift within the method its protagonists understood and defined house. at the start of the 17th century, spatial phenomena have been defined relating to a presupposed relevant aspect; by means of its finish, area had develop into a centerless void within which phenomena may perhaps basically be defined by way of connection with arbitrary orientations. David Marshall Miller examines either the ancient and philosophical facets of this far-reaching improvement, together with the rejection of the assumption of heavenly spheres, the arrival of rectilinear inertia, and the theoretical contributions of Copernicus, Gilbert, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. His wealthy research indicates truly how the headquartered Aristotelian cosmos grew to become the orientated Newtonian universe, and may be of serious curiosity to scholars and students of the background and philosophy of technological know-how.

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I require only that an author accept, given whatever resources he or she has to hand at the time, that his or her assertions adequately account for the phenomenon in question. 33 This does not imply that anything goes; there are constraints. In particular, despite my argument that explanations necessarily include descriptions, I do not mean to suggest that explanations are merely descriptions. Explanations are distinct from descriptions insofar as they evince some sort of active principle or entity.

Having shown this to be the path of the body, Newton then proves that the area swept out in each moment is always the same, and the proposition follows. Newton’s use of a parallelogram composition of motions here is telling, since it only makes coherent sense in an oriented representation of space. 17 That is, the parallel sides of the parallelogram must signify motion in one and the same direction. Only if this is the case will one of the motions carry the body between the two parallel, straight lines describing the other motion.

95). In particular, I refer to the work of Robert DiSalle (2006). See also Nerlich (1976), Earman (1989), Nerlich (1994), Brown (2005). See Ludlow (2004). 22 Representing Space in the Scientific Revolution argument applies to these cases, as well, since they also require some descriptive framework to coordinate elements of the representation with features of the phenomena represented. 31 Note that descriptions are relativized to the context in which they are generated and interpreted. The status of a description does not depend on the actual existence or observability of the entities it purports to describe.

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