Katherine Brading (Notre Dame): Absolute, true and mathematical time in Newton’s Principia

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Date(s) - 26/06/2014
5:15 pm - 6:45 pm

Lakatos (LAK) 2.06


Speaker: Katherine Brading (Notre Dame)

Time: 5:15pm – 6:45pm

Katherine Brading (Notre Dame)

Title: Absolute, true and mathematical time in Newton’s Principia.

Abstract:  In the famous scholium at the beginning of Newton’s Principia, Newton discusses time, space, place and motion, making use of three distinctions: absolute and relative; true and apparent; mathematical and common. The literature on the scholium has focused primarily on absolute versus relative motion, and on absolute space, with comparatively little discussion of time, and nothing that I know of addressing why Newton has this three-fold set of distinctions. I discuss the three distinctions for the case of time, arguing that all three are important for the project of the Principia, and that all three become subject to empirical investigation through their relationship to the project of the Principia. I conclude by explaining the significance of this for philosophy of time.

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