Reconstructing Newton’s Conception of the Laws of Nature




natural philosophy, mechanism, mathematical principles, De Gravitatione, rules for natural philosophy


We routinely speak of Newton’s laws in classical mechanics without really knowing how Newton understood such laws. This article clarifies some of the ontological, epistemological, and theological presuppositions underpinning his conception of the laws of nature. After introducing the Cartesian background (2), we examine the Newtonian view of laws of nature in three respects, namely: the character of laws of nature in the context of the rules for natural philosophy (3); the emanative conception of space and time in De Gravitatione; (4); and the interpretation of laws of nature in terms of Leibnizian mechanisms or Berkeleyan principles (5). Our analysis highlights crucial philosophical elements of Newton’s view of laws of nature, which contributed to shape the directions that predominated in successive investigations (6).


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How to Cite

Soto, C. (2023). Reconstructing Newton’s Conception of the Laws of Nature. Revista De Humanidades De Valparaíso, (23), 309–330.




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