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Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton

Newton on the use of hypotheses

Read the following text in which Isaac Newton exposes his conception about the uses of hypotheses in experimental philosophy. Your comprehension will be tested in the following step.

I have not yet been able to deduce from phenomena the reason for these properties of gravity, and I do not feign hypotheses. For whatever is not deduced from the phenomena must be called a hypothesis; and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, or based on occult qualities, or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy. In this experimental philosophy, propositions are deduced from the phenomena, and are made general by induction. The impenetrability, mobility, and the impetus of bodies, and the laws of motion and the law of gravity have been found by this method. And it is enough that gravity really exists and acts according to the laws that we have set forth and is sufficient to explain all the motions of the heavenly bodies and of our sea.

Isaac Newton, General Scholium, in Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica, University of California Press, p. 589.

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The Scientific Revolution: Understanding the Roots of Modern Science

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