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Philosophy Methodology

The Methodological Heritage of Newton

edited by Robert Butts & John Davis

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 1970
Methodology, Modern, Philosophy & Social Aspects, Criticism
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    Publish Date
    Dec 1970
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In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in Newton and his influence. His thought, like that of Aristotle and every other great thinker, underwent development which contemporary scholars are seeking to understand more clearly than did their predecessors, awed as they were by the overwhelming Newtonian achievement.

As the titles indicate, the range of essays included in this volume is wide, but most are concerned not so much with explaining Newton’s development as with assessing his contribution to the thought of others. They explore all aspects of the conceptual background—historical, philosophical, and narrowly methodological—and examine questions that developed in the wake of Newton’s science. The papers are varied yet unified in their attention to common themes and show the wealth of philosophical matter to be found in scientific synthesis. Newton left a rich complexity of philosophical problems whose attempted resolution helps our understanding both of method and positive science. His theories are one of the greatest achievements in physics; they are also valuable case studies for those interested in grasping the methodological and broadly philosophical basis of science. 

Four of the seven essays in this volume were prepared for an international conference held at the University of Western Ontario in April 1967; the three other papers were added by the editors to supplement and unify the collection. 

About the authors

Robert E. Butts was a professor emeritus and chairman of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. He studied at Syracuse University and the University of Pennsylvania where he received a PH.D. He taught at the Universities of Pennsylvania, St. Lawrence, and Bucknell, and published several papers on the history and philosophy of science.

Robert Butts' profile page

John W. Davis is a professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario, and was formerly head of the Department of Philosophy at the university's Middlesex College. He received his PH.D. from Boston College in 1957 and has taught at Emerson College and Clark University. Dr. Davis has published several articles on philosophy.

John Davis' profile page