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date: 22 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In the Scholium to the Definitions at the beginning of the Principia, Newton distinguishes absolute time, space, place, and motion from their relative counterparts. He argues that they are indeed ontologically distinct, in that the absolute quantity cannot be reduced to some particular category of the relative, as Descartes had attempted by defining absolute motion to be relative motion with respect to immediately ambient bodies. Newton’s rotating bucket experiment, rather than attempting to show that absolute motion exists, is one of five arguments from the properties, causes, and effects of motion. These arguments attempt to show that no such program can succeed, and thus that true motion can be adequately analyzed only by invoking immovable places, that is, the parts of absolute space.

Keywords: Principia, Scholium, motion, space, time, place, absolute, relative, rotating bucket experiment

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