On Isaac Newton's Concept of Mathematical Force

Doctoral Dissertation


This dissertation presents a philosophical and developmental account of the mathematical conceptualization of force in Isaac Newton’s writings, starting from the early dynamical writings in the 1660s and ending with the first edition of the Principia of 1687. Broadly speaking, this project is a contribution to the epistemology and metaphysics comprised in (i) the mathematical practices underlying the birth of dynamics and (ii) the philosophical foundations of the transition from natural philosophy to mathematical physics. As a project in the history of ideas, it casts a new light on the foundations of modern science by focusing on the conceptualization of force as a mathematical quantity. As a contribution to the philosophy of science, it introduces a novel understanding of Newton’s philosophy of science centered on the use of what have come to be called models based on mathematical concepts.


Attribute NameValues
Author Adriana M. Solomon
Contributor Katherine Brading, Research Director
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline History and Philosophy of Science
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2017-06-07

Submission Date 2017-07-19
  • Isaac Newton, mathematical force, philosophy of science, early modern science, early modern philosophy

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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