Newton, The Last Magician

On the nature of Newton's apple

Modern science celebrates Isaac Newton as the father of our mechanistic picture of the universe. But Newton himself would have deplored such a vision, writes Patricia Fara. 

What counts as natural – an ambiguous and multi-faceted term – depends on cultural convictions. According to the Aristotelian texts Isaac Newton was obliged to study at Cambridge, the divine perfection of celestial motion contrasts starkly with terrestrial confusion, which allows apples to fall downwards because they have a natural tendency to do so. Following a self-prescribed course of reading, Newton discovered that French natural philosophers had already rejected many previous assumptions, and in response he developed his own theory of universal gravity governed by mathematical laws. A modified version remains the accepted world view, but of course it may in its turn be deemed unnatural by some future interpreter.

According to modern scientific ideology, true knowledge can be gained

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