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date: 26 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyzes the historical evidence showing how and why Newton came to accept the possibility of action at a distance, and to a large extent based his physics on attractive and repulsive atomic forces capable of acting at a distance between atoms. Precedents to Newton’s work are examined, including notions of action at a distance proposed by Bacon and Kepler (who associated it chiefly with magnetism). The chapter describes Newton’s discussions of gravity, rarefacation, and aether. Newton was cautious about introducing the concept and considered the reception it would get. Additionally,the chapter responds to the major arguments used to counter suggestions that he accepted action at a distance.

Keywords: Newton, magnetism, gravity, rarefaction, attraction, repulsion, atomic forces

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