Monday, 14 December 2009

John of Alexandria, the 6th century Catholic founder of modern science


John Philoponus (Ἰωάννης ὁ Φιλόπονος) lived from AD 490 to AD 570. Φιλόπονος (Philoponus) means "lover of work" and he was so called for the reason that he spent as much time as he could studying.

He was also known as John the Grammarian or John of Alexandria, was a theologian and scientist who challenged Aristotle’s physics.

Although suspect of heresy, his works were widely printed in Latin translations in Europe from the 15th century onwards. His work was plagiarised by Galileo, by Pico della Mirandola and by others.

He studied at the school of Alexandria and began publishing from about 510. He was a pupil and sometime amanuensis to the Neoplatonic philosopher Ammonius, who had studied at Athens under Proclus.

Philoponus became one of the earliest thinkers to reject Aristotle’s dynamics and propose the theory of impetus which is really nothing less than the theory which Sir Isaac Newton later claimed to invent, namely the law of inertia i.e. an object moves and continues to move because of an energy imparted in it by the mover, and ceases movement when that energy is dissipated by an opposite force (like gravity).


Aristotle


In 529 Philoponus wrote his critique Against Proclus in which he systematically defeats every argument put forward for the eternity of the world, a theory which formed the basis of pagan attack of the Christian doctrine of Creation, just as it does today in the debates between Christians and atheists over evolution.

Around 550 he wrote a theological work On the Creation of the World as a commentary on the Bible’s story of creation using the insights of Greek philosophers and St Basil the Great.

In this work he transfers his theory of impetus to the motion of the planets, whereas Aristotle had proposed as an explanation for the motion of heavenly bodies and for earthly projectiles that they were moved by angels. Philoponus, accurately, put the movement down to impetus. He had effectively discovered gravity long before Newton.

Philoponus’ view of space as homogeneity is influenced by the Hellenic teaching of Aristotle. However, Philoponus and his contemporaries, Simplicius of Cilicia and Strato developed this concept further. This concept guided the Renaissance theory of perspective, particularly that of Leon Battista Alberti, and other architectural masters.


Leon Battista Alberti


Philoponus’ theological work is recognized in the history of science as the first attempt at a unified theory of dynamics. Another of his major theological concerns was to argue that all material objects were brought into being by God (Arbiter, 52A-B). Around 553 Philoponus made some theological contributions to the Council of Constantinople concerning Christology.

In his own time and afterwards he was translated into Syriac and Arabic and many of his works continued to persevere and be studied by the Arabs. Some of his works continued to circulate in Europe in Greek or Latin versions, and influenced Bonaventure.


St Bonaventure


The theory of impetus was taken up by Friar Francesco di Marchia who taught at the Sorbonne. Marchia likened the law of impetus to the Blessed Sacrament saying that grace entered the soul through the Sacrament but was lost by sin, just as impetus was imparted to an object causing movement until an opposite force, like sin, stopped the movement.

Marchia’s teachings were taken up by Jean Buridan, another Sorbonne professor in the 14th century, who developed more fully the law of impetus. It was this theory that was later plagiarised by Newton and presented as his own theory of “inertia”.

It is this law of impetus – or inertia – that is the basis of modern physics, science and so much modern technology.

Thus we see that modern science finds its origins in a law devised by a 6th century Catholic theologian which was later revived in the great Catholic University of Sorbonne as an analogy for the Blessed Sacrament.

So much for the false accusation that the Catholic Church objects to science. On the contrary, it has been the greatest promoter of science!




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35 comments:

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

If you like, you may add that St Isidore of Sevilla, by the way he quoted the other line of hellenistic thought, atomism, may well have contributed to Niels Bohr's Quantum Physics.

His work is not so extensive, I think you will find the reference easily. (Etymologies has something about time, space, et c where he mainly goes in for chronology, but first I think quotes that).

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

PS:

Did Newton really claim to invent impetus, or was he only describing it, without going into questions about his sources?

MYO HO said...

Beau travail.

We all know that the scientists inspiration is more often "divine" and not only among the Christians or specifically the Catholics one.

Since we know also that those same Christians and Catholics scientists were seeking their brilliant inspiration through elder wisdom scientists in the Roman, Greek, Egyptian culture and knowledge.

In fact your fair and brilliant post introduced a deeper debate; first, on the origin of the thought that the scientists (the writers, the musicians or the painters) have at the moment they set up and create their works – I mean the influence they got not only from their own family, political, spiritual culture, but moreover from their own degree of goodness, compassion, knowledge regarding their deep nature. Secondly on the interdependence one should admit, not only within the bosom of the same spiritual family, groups of thought, political ideology but over those favourite relations –

Thank you Tribunus to remind us what some good and brilliant catholic masterminds have created however it will be extremely say .. interesting to deep the subject of the Thought –

Since History and Roman Catholicism brought you to the science …. Then you started to underline the narrow link between science and spirituality ….. Can we deep a bit more in that sense.

Will be pleased to debate about it on a longer conversation even it is a bit difficult to find out the good vocabulary to express … my french thought.

Thank you – Myo Ho

Tribunus said...

Thank you very much, both.

I'll try and do some more on this.

As to Newton, what, ultimately, is the difference between Newton's law of "inertia" and Philoponus's and Buridan's law of "impetus"?

Newton was a notorious plagiariser and an unpleasant man. He is known to have read Buridan but he nowhere acknowledges his debt to him in the discovery of the principle of inertia.

I would not put it past Newton to have read Buridan, swiped his theory and re-named it "inertia" so that no-one would know the source.

After all, "impetus" is a much better description of this law than "inertia".

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

a) difference between inertia and impetus is that inertia includes standing bcompletely still, impetus does not

b) my question was whether Newton lived in a cultural context where he was supposed to name all his sources - and I think not

Lyndon LaRouche accuses him of plagiarising Kepler, problem is not whether he had read Buridan and Kepler, problem is whether he should have said so if he had.

Academic copyright was simply not the issue back then. He was not competing with either Buridan or Kepler for University funds. Buridan was dead, Kepler was in another country.

Tribunus said...

Sorry Hans but all that is just poppycock.

It should be obvious by now that the "us" and "them" dichotomy is a false one. Our ancestors were not stupid.

Neither, by the way, am I.

I am perfectly well aware what the words "inertia" and "impetus" mean and if I did not know I could easily look them up in a dictionary.

It is you who have misunderstood. We are talking about Newton's law and Buridan's law and the difference between them.

If you do not know what they are, then look them up and come back with a convincing explanation as to why they are substantially different laws.

You can "think not" all you like but it is frankly nonsense to suggest (as you do) that plagiarism was OK in Newton's time because of so-called "cultural differences".

This is back to the "our ancestors were so stupid they thought cheating was OK" line of historical nonsense.

Buridan acknowledged his debt to Marchia and Philoponus and he lived in the 13th century.

How, then, was acknowledging sources necessary to scholars in the 13th century but "culturally" unnecessary in the 17th and 18th centuries?

Scholars of the 13th century, like Aquinas, meticulously acknowledged their sources.

Newton was a cheat in this respect. Descartes was even worse.

It is true that the tenor of the times had been adversely affected by the dishonesty of the Protestant Reformation but that was a corruption and not an excuse.

You might as well argue that it was alright to shoot innocent civilians by the tens of thousands in Soviet Russia because that was the "culture" in those days.

And if you think acknowledging sources is all about getting funding then you really have got a cock-eyed view of what scholarship is really all about.

Come on, now.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

The misunderstanding is yours.

In Buridan's time and in Aquinas' time it was OK and even usual to cite ones authorities. Had been so since antiquity.

In Newton's and Descartes' time it was not OK to have authorities. If one had, one hid it. Was so ever since Bacon of Verulam.

Meanwhile it has become obvious that this involves not citing sources, and that has now become obligatory. But it is still not OK to depend on them.

I do not think much of the anti-authority bias, but still less of the broadened definition of plagiarism.

In antiquity and until recently, plagiarism was citing someone else's WORDS without telling so. Ideas were the common proerty of mankind. There was such a thing as literary property, but no such thing as intellectual property. Taking a patent on an invention was impossible and indeed illegal in some places: inventions were subjected to the guilds, keeping them for oneself was lack of solidarity.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

It is getting funding that makes unacknowledged sources an economic cheat nowadays.

As for ownership of ideas, that was not done, as for acknowledging gratitudes, it was customary but not strictly obligatory, especially not in the short format. In the Summa, Aquinas always cites his sources/authorities, in the catechetic sermons he does not. Because they were not meant for scholars. And citing authorities was not done in England between Bacon and modern historical scholarship.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Gallica, p. 3 of Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica - as you can see Newton nowhere claims to have invented all himself, he is simply giving the conclusions and the system to which he adhers.

Praefatio ad lectorem (same Gallica online edition) does not deny there were philosophers before him, but describes the difference in general approach. He nowhere denies taking lots of details from predecessors.

Tribunus said...

It is ridiculous to suggest that sources were quoted in earlier times and then - inexplicably and for no good reason - for a century or two they simply ceased to be "OK".

Says who?

If fact, it was not "OK" at all. It was simply cheating then, just as it is now.

The reality is that Verulam and Newton often did not quote sources - also Descartes - because then others could not see that they were plagiarising.

No-one is "broadening" the definition of plagiarism. If you take someone else's ideas and pretend they are your own - as both Newton and Descartes did - then you are plagiarising. If you do it today in any academic contest then you can expect sanctions.

Whether you "think much" of this is neither here nor there. It is a fact whether you like it or not.

Plagiarism is NOT confined to citing words. It wasn't then and it isn't now.

Ideas remain the common property of mankind but if any scholar pretends that an idea is his own when he knows it came from someone else then he can expect to be mocked or - if he does so in any contest - to be sanctioned.

Plagiarism and breach of copyright are not the same thing. One is academic and the other legal, albeit there may be overlap. You fail to understand this.

So, sorry Hans, but it's still all just poppycock.

Tribunus said...

And we are not talking about "economic" cheating but academic.

Onwership of ideas is stil not done even today when IP and copyright are big legal issues. So there has been no change there. congtrary to what you assert.

No-one expects the citation of sources in a sermon. As you say, it is not an acamedic exercise.

Bacon may not ahve cited sources but that does not mean no-one else did until modern times.

Suarez, Bellarmine, de Soto - all the great scholars cite sources regularly. It was only the obfuscating Protestant English scholars who tended to eschew sources (and for the reasons I have said).

Tribunus said...

Your citiations to Principia Mathematica and Praefatio ad lectorem make my point.

They nowhere cite sources.

That is precisely my point, Hans!

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

My dear petit caporal, I am no officer, but I have studied. Notably Latin and Greek letters.


Aquinas and Buridan cited authorities. Not just sources, but sources that were authorities.

Verulam did away with authorities, as being a kind of pseudoproof. So, ceasing to cite authorities, one ceased to cite sources.

THEN, came the charge that this was some kind of plagiarism (which the ancients would not have admitted, since "ideas are common property, the wording is one's own" - at least as far as epics and mythology, as far as juridics and so on are concerned - philosophy being with them one place for precisely not just sources but authorities) AND one started to cite sources.

NOT CITING a source is not the same as pretending not to have one.

Or used not to be until funding was being put into the pot and humdrum economic justice became an issue. Isaac Newton got his funding from the court.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

And if Suarez and St Robert Bellarmine not to mention Cajetan cited sources, it is because they were scholastics, like Saint Thomas Aquinas, like Buridan.

But even they would not have cited sources in a context that called for briefness - like the sermons on Pater and Creed and Commandments by St Thomas Aquinas, he cites these documents, but not the source for every idea he propounds about them.

Newton did NOT situate what he said about natural things "in the ongoing debate" he opted for a brief definition or proposition with just a physical explanation or giving examples. Indeed, when it comes to physical observable examples, Newton cites sources abundantly. And these were the only sources a disciple of Verulam was supposed to cite.

Tribunus said...

It may be that you are no officer but equally you are not the only who who "has studied".

Aquinas and Buridan did indeed cite authorities and sources and you are right that Verulam did not.

To suggest that Verulam is authority for doing away with authrities is instrinsically self-contradictory.

To suggest that citing sources is a pseudo-proof is even sillier.

It is of a piece with your claim that "in Newton's and Descartes' time it was not OK to have authorities. If one had, one hid it" and that this was somehow culturally "normal".

Many of the post-Renaissance Protestant writers did away with authoriites because they knew that citing authorities soon enough tended to lead to the auto-demolition of their Protestantism. So they cheated and pretended to be blazing a new trail where authorities were no longer relevant.

Neither the Scholastics nor the Ancients claimed the right to steal another man's ideas freely in the manner you suggest.

Aristotle cites and rebuts Plato as Plato did with the Sophists and others. The fact that they did not do so in the way we do now does not mean that they did not do so at all, as you seem (illogically) to claim.

The Protestant scholars were soon called to account so that it is not at all surprisng that they later were obliged to return to citing sources and authorities.

The fact that Sir Isaac Newton got his funding from the court emphasizes my point: he did not need to cite sources to underpin his scholarship. All he needed was friends in high places in the Protestant establishment. He claimed the right merely to state his views as being authoritative in themselves - a form of arogance that is rightly eschewed today.

To claim that this was somehow "OK" (as you put it) simply because he was a disciple of another arrogant writer unwilling to cite sources (Verulam) has but to be stated for its intrinsic and self-contradictory absurdity to be obvious.

And it seems that I have to repeat to your Deafness that Sermons are intended for spiritual edification and are not primarily academic work requiring the citing of sources.

In reality you are merely arguing for the sake of arguing - another unattractive characteristic of some modern scholars.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

You miss the point that a man - like Newton - may more or less innocently be following a tradition already established a century before him, even if it ought not to have been established. I do not say Verulam was right or had the right to be an authority, I say he was de facto followed like one. Sorry, culture is not always as coherent as the summa. Esp. not the English Protestant one.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Forgot this, sorry:

"And it seems that I have to repeat to your Deafness that Sermons are intended for spiritual edification and are not primarily academic work requiring the citing of sources."

Exact. But neither was it absolutely required in Academic work the centuries following Verulam. The format of Principia is not one intended for citing sources.

Besides, between Newton and Buridan, is Buridan really equating, as Newton does, impetus with stillness as cases of non-acceleration? I hope Buridan's theory was better than Newtons, which would not be the case if Newton had plagiarised it right off.

Tribunus said...

Thanks, Hans.

I agree with you when you say that culture is not always as coherent as the Summa, especially not the English Protestant one.

That, I believe, was the problem.

Verulam was not authority for dispensing with authorities and Newton was merely following Verulam's arrogance in dispensing with any authorities but himself.

The format of the Principia is deficient in eschewing any sources. Medieval scientists were better scholars in that respect. Moreover, it enabled Newton to conceal his plagiarism.

Newton's law of inertia and the law of impetus of Philoponus/Buridan are not identical but Newton's law is a clear copy of the concept of impetus.

The difference is that whereas Buridan acknowledges his debt to Philoponus, Newton aknowledges no-one but himself and treats himself, and allows others to treat him, as the sole originator of the idea.

As you know, Newton's First Law is:

Corpus omne perseverare in statu suo quiescendi vel movendi uniforminter in directum, nisi quatenus a viribus impressis cogiutr statum illum mutare.

Projectilia perseverant in motibus suis nisi quatenus a resistentia aeris retardantur et vi gravitatis impelluntur deorsum. Trochus, cujus partes cohaerendo perpetuo retrahunt sese a motibus rectilineis, non cessat rotari nisi quatenus ab aere retardatur. Majora autem Planetarum et Cometarum corpora motus suos et progresivos et circulares in spatiis minus resistentibus factos conservant diutius.


Or roughly (excuse my inelegant translating):

"Every body persists in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a straight line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed thereon.

Projectiles persevere in their motions, so far as they are not retarded by the resistance of the air or impelled downwards by the force of gravity. A top, whose parts by their cohesion are perpetually drawn away from rectilinear motions, does not cease its rotation otherwise than as it is retarded by the air. The greater bodies of the planets and comets, meeting with less resistance in more free space, preserve their motions, both progressive and circular, for a much longer time."

The idea comes direct from what Buridan taught.

Aristotle and the peripatetics taught that a projectile continued in motion due to eddies or vibrations in the surrounding medium (antiperistasis) and, absent this proximate force, the projectile would arrive at rest almost immediately.

Jean Buridan, following Philoponus, taught that motion was maintained by a property imparted to the projectile, which property he called “impetus” which increased with the initial motion speed and which would only be arrested by air resistance and gravity.

In so teaching he beat Newton to the punch, anticipating modern ideas of momentum.

Buridan wrote:

"...after leaving the arm of the thrower, the projectile would be moved by an impetus given to it by the thrower and which would continue to be moved as long as the impetus remained stronger than the resistance, and would be of infinite duration were it not diminished and corrupted by a contrary force resisting it or by something inclining it to a contrary motion."

Buridan was writing in the 14th century.

Newton's Principia came out (1st edition) in 1687, nearly 350 years later using the same idea without any acknowledgement to the source whence he got it (i.e. Buridan).

And THAT was my point.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

You missed a detail: impetus is only about moving objects. Buridan however does not add uniformly. Also it is something which is always added, since absent from resting objects.

Newton's inertia is about uniformly moving or resting objects. It is not necessarily added, but only if the object was previously moving otherwise or resting when now moving.

See what the implications for Prima Via is? Or why Newton's physics makes Deism (clockworker God) thinkable.

Beside that, I hold that the question of plagiarism is secondary.

And plagiarism would have been intellectually dishonest in a format where every minor source for every minor detail were cited but not the major source for the major ... first law. THAT would have been pretending to have discovered it himself alone.

Which was not the format he chose.

Tribunus said...

No. I didn't miss a detail. Indeed, I have already answered that above, if you remember or trouble to review the correspondence.

Impetus is, in any case, not just about moving objects since it envisages resistance and gravity impeding momentum leaving the body at rest and it also envisages imparting impetus to a body at rest.

But, for the reasons I have already adumbrated, that is irrelevant to the main question which is about how Newton got the idea for his First Law.

There may well be implications for Prima Via or for Deism (indeed I tend to agree with your observations thereon) but that was not the point of my post. Plagiarism was primary to that post - not secondary.

Pretending that one has invented the idea that "projectiles persevere in their motions, so far as they are not retarded by the resistance of the air or impelled downwards by the force of gravity" when, in fact, one has got it from a medieval scientist and philosopher, is not a "minor detail" but a major one.

Indeed, this law was - and is - arguably the basis of all modern applied science.

It could therefore hardly be more "major".

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

a) Newton pretended nothing, his format allowed as little for pretence as for honouring sources

b) "Impetus is, in any case, not just about moving objects since it envisages resistance and gravity impeding momentum leaving the body at rest and it also envisages imparting impetus to a body at rest."

I would like to see that in Philoponus or Buridan, not just in your conclusion.

c=back to a) your final verbiage about what is hardly more major than anything else is honourable for a petit caporal trying to correct a recrute, but not in an academic person. Hitting thin air and kicking in open doors is honourable to you?

I agree Newtons first law is a major point in Newton. I agree if he cited sources for minor things he should also have cited sources for this one.

BUT he did not pretend to cite his sources.

THEREFORE he did not pretend to have invented this or that point which he cited no source for.

I think indeed Newtons first law is so much a major point in Newton that it is a major point whether he got it right or wrong and relative to that a very minor point where he got it from.

I think he got it wrong. I think his version of it conflicts with Prima Via in the five ways of proving God's existence. I think it modifies it sufficiently to make deism an intellectual option, which is bad. I hope Philoponus and Buridan did not get it as wrong as Newton. Unless you cite them as saying so, you are doing them no honour by saying they were as wrong as Newton was.

Even if we live in a society that supposes Newton was right. Even if we live in a society that supposes the five ways are wrong. Even if your parish priest encourages you to attack Newton on his source citing but not on his doctrine.

Because he too supposes Newtons first law as stated by Newton to be irrefutable, because it is "established" in the scientific community.

Because he thinks the Catholic Church has been too much attacked as fighting science and because he thinks it needs boosting by taking credit for Newton's first law through Buridan and Philoponus, as if they were Catholics in good standing. Neither of them was considered absolutely orthodox. No Church Father thinks it a shame that Pagans should have discovered science, though some - at least one - denied science to the discovery of earth's globality. Do not make Catholic Christianity as ridiculous as Moslem Buccaillists, please!

Tribunus said...

No, I still think you are wrong.

The fact of choosing a particular "format" (as you term it) does not absolve one from acknowledging the source of one's ideas.

As to "impetus", I have already quoted directly from Buridan (see above). It is not "my conclusion", therefore.

You then return to insult - all the more ironically and unintellectually.

Then you return to repeating yourself. Repetition does not improve your argument.

I have not suggested that Newton "pretended to cite his sources".

You are aiming at a straw man.

I said that he was pretending that he had invented an idea when he had not.

Your logic is also faulty.

Your major premise: Newton did not pretend to cite his sources.

Your minor: He cited no sources.

Your conclusion: THEREFORE he did not pretend to have invented this or that point which he cited no source for.

The conclusion simply does not follow from the premises and is a simple failure of logic.

You may well be right that Newton's First Law is in error and that would make an interesting discussion.

But that it not this discussion which was primarily about whether or not Newton stole other people's ideas and presented them as his own.

I agree that "Newton's first law is so much a major point in Newton". That is why it is all the more significant that he does not reveal from whom he took it.

And that was my point.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Logic:

Major premisse: if one pretends to be original inventor of something, either one says so or one insinuates it.

Minor premiss: Newton neither said he invented his first law (the statement of it cites neither himself nor anyone else as source) nor insinuated it (he did not cite a lot of sources for minor things and hide the source for this one).

Conclusion: Newton did not pretend to invent his first law.

Objection: if one cites no sources one pretends to be original inventor of whatever one says.

Answer to objection: as is evident from the sermons of Aquinas, that is not true for all formats.

Content:

The theory of impetus was taken up by Friar Francesco di Marchia who taught at the Sorbonne. Marchia likened the law of impetus to the Blessed Sacrament saying that grace entered the soul through the Sacrament but was lost by sin, just as impetus was imparted to an object causing movement until an opposite force, like sin, stopped the movement.

Entirely consistent with my view of Prima Via: movement, even uniform, is something imparted on matter, ultimately by God who is first mover. It is, even uniform, opposed to stillness or inertia.

To Newton, by contrast, uniform motion is just another variety of inertia/stillness. That is: no sign of any mover. Divine or secondary.

Saying this is same thing as stated previously by Francesco di Marchia is not quite at the top of intellectual distinction.

Tribunus said...

Turning then to your fresh discussion.

I have not - at any stage of this exchange - made any of the assertions that you set out in the second half of your slightly hysterical post.

I have made no assertions about:

- whether Newton is right or wrong
- Whether his view conflicts with the prima via or the 5 Ways
- Whether his view coalesces with Deism
- Whether Buridan or Philoponus "got it as wrong" as Newton
- Whether we live in a society that supposes Newton right
- Whether we live in a society that supposes the 5 Ways are wrong
- Whether or not my PP has encouraged me to attack Newton's sources
- Whether I even take any notice of my PP and whether or not he considers Newton's law to be irrefutable and whether or not that is so by reason of it being "established"
- Whether he thinks the Catholic Church needs boosting by taking credit for Newton's first law
- Whether Buridan or Philoponus were Catholics in good standing (as you say, they weren't very)
- Whether the Church fathers thought it a shame that pagans had discovered science

These are all assertions that YOU introduced to this discussion, not me.

To try to pretend that I averred them is ridiculous (whether like Moslem Buccaillists or not).

As I think I made clear, my regard for Newton is not high. I think he was a plagiariser, a cheat and not a very nice man.

I am perfectly well disposed to hear any reasoned argument or evidence that shows he was wrong scientifically.

But you have not - as yet - advanced any.

You have merely asserted and - which is sillier - tried to put words in my mouth which I did not say.

Tribunus said...

Responding to your next outburst.

You now construct an entierly new sullogism to make up for your previous illogical one.

It is still faulty but by reason now of historical inaccuracy.

Newton certainly does cite other sources e.g. in the Preface he mentions Pappus and Halley, in Book I, p.316 he cites Grimaldus, in Book 1. p.318, he cites Cartesius and these are just a few which I readily found. There are many more.

In his preface he writes:

"For I am induced by many seasons to suspect that they may all depend upon certain forces by which the particles of bodies, by some causes hitherto unknown, are either mutually impelled towards each other and cohere in regular figures, or are repelled and recede from each other; which forces being unknown, Philosophers have hitherto attempted the search of Nature in vain. But I hope the principles here laid down will afford some light either to that, or some truer, method of Philosophy."

It is frankly absurd to suggest that Newton was somehow no more than compiling a collection of maxims and theorems that were already well established and was not claiming to have made discoveries. Of course he was claiming so, just as he claimed with calculus.

And it is patently clear that he goes far further than mere insinuation

You thereafter again try to put words in my mouth.

I did not assert your objection.

What I said was that Newton stole his idea from previous scholars.

He did so without citing his source.

That is not the same as the straw objection which you put up.

You then return to your claim about sermons as a dog returns to its vomit, even though the point has now been answered no less than 3 times.

You then go on - yet again! - to pretend that I was challenging your view of the prima via when I did not mention it. It was you who raised it, not me.

Finally, you pretend - with a degree of sbsurdity which is fast becoming your chief characteristic in this disucssion - an assertion that Marchia believed that stillness means there is no Divine first mover when no such assertion has ever been made by anyone in this exchange and only you have raised it.

Putting words in the mouth of another is not remotely at the top of intellectual distinction. It is just clumsy.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

I do however admit to not having read further than first pages after preface.

Newton certainly does cite other sources e.g. in the Preface he mentions Pappus and Halley, in Book I, p.316 he cites Grimaldus, in Book 1. p.318, he cites Cartesius and these are just a few which I readily found. There are many more.

pp 316 and 318 are as yet virgin to my eyes. From the first pages I got the impression that he did cite only in preface. If I was wrong, I was. The sources he does cite according to your words indicate however that he does so of courtesy to living, or maybe also recently living scholars, that is men whose reputation was yet to be made or unmade.

And I repeat: even if you do consider his law identical to what Marchia said, I do not. Even if you think saying Newton saw uniform motion as no sign of a presently active prime mover is tantamount to saying Marchia did not see it so, I do not. Even if you think intellectual property more important than getting a principle right, I think it more important to get a principle right. And I reserve me the right to speak or write according to my priorities, even if it is brought about by material on your post.

Buccaille (Maurice) was a French doctor who enjoyed lots of hospitalities on an oriental journey, and having finished it wrote abook asserting that a) the Christian Bible contains assertions conflicting with Science, b) the Quran does not, but contains material scientifically inaccessible in Mohammed's time, and yet correct. Part of his theoreme is based on fact that Quran is less specific in opposition to heliocentrism than Joshua and Psalms, part that the words "and he set a fixed orbit for sun and moon" refer to their recently discovered rotations on own axes rather than their annual and mensual orbits around zodiak. And part on the fact that he discovered Pharao's army using Quran, and hiding fact that this had already been done by someone using Exodus. THAT is a context where I find plagiarism a real menace to intellectual honesty. And I find it ridiculous to want to hide that Mohammed was a geocentric, like any sane man else in his time, and I find it equally ridiculous to assert that Marchia had already trodden the slippery slope of Newton - equating uniform motion with stillness in causality - leading to Einstein who equated them in physical geometry as well.

The claim Newton had read Marchia or anyone else saying same thing implies not only "plagiarism" but also either lack of understanding or deliberate "going beyond" into some seed of Einsteinism.

But intellectual property - as opposed to the honesty that is always binding - was neither morally nor legally binding in Newton's time (confer fact that US and UK have separated since and have different copyright legislations due to laws having been made after that separation - and in France the right to pose a patent for an invention was not voted until 1793 or 98.

Tribunus said...

Thank you, Hans, for your admission that you were wrong. Most gentlemanly of you - thank you. Perhaps you are an officer, after all?

As to the remainder, I am afraid I must repeat: I do not consider his law identical to what Marchia said, and I never said so.

I maintain that Newton copied Buridan and Philoponus without acknowledging them and pretended that he had invented the idea, and not they, that Aristotle's physics was wrong and that impetus more accurately represented the truth.

Neither did I ever say (despite your slight obsession with the subject) that "Newton's seeing uniform motion as no sign of a presently active prime mover is tantamount to saying Marchia did not see it so".

What I said was that you pretended that I asserted: "that Marchia believed that stillness means there is no Divine first mover."

Neither did I say that intellectual property is more important than getting a principle right.

You are up to your old tricks in putting words in my mouth.

You may reserve whatever rights you wish but not on my blog.

I agree with you about Mahomet and the ridiculous Buccaille.

You are free to find it equally ridiculous to assert that Marchia had already trodden the slippery slope of Newton - equating uniform motion with stillness in causality - leading to Einstein who equated them in physical geometry as well.

But that is not, of course, what I said.

You put words in my mouth again.

But if you read my other posts you will find that I also agree with you that there are serious errors in Einstein's theories.

You then merely repeat yourself - like a cracked record - in introducing (again) intellectual property which is irrelevant.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

No, it is not at all Marchia who had trodden the slippery slope of Newton. What he says is identical to Newtons commonplace example. But not to Newtons statement of the law, which is exactly where I think Newton got on a slippery slope leading to Einstein.

I was no officer, just a common soldier, a private as you say in the States. I commanded no-one.

Tribunus said...

No, it is not at all Marchia who had trodden the slippery slope of Newton.

As I say, I never said he did.

You are attacking a straw man and putting words in my mouth.

And I think you are not reading my replies.

And I do not live in the United States, nor am I American!

For the record, I have never denied your theory that Newton's view of inertia/impetus leads to some of Einstein's theories.

My point was that the very idea that a force is imparted to a projectile and this causes motion, rather than Aristotle's antiperistasis, is not Newton's but was long ago discovered by Philoponus, but Newton does not acknowledge so great a source for so fundamental an idea.

The result has been that men now speak of Newtonian physics and motion when they should speak of Philoponussian physics and motion.

You may well be right that Newton put a particular reductionist "spin" on the concept which eliminates the prime mover but nowhere did I deny this.

For what it's worth, I am impresed by Christoph von Mettenheim who shows that AE made a logical mistake in SR and Georges Sagnac whose experiment proves, further, that the velocity of light is not a constant.

Moreover, if c is a ceiling for the velocity of any wave or force (as SR claims) then how is it that gravity propagates at near-infinite speed? If it did not then, as Van Flandern shows, we would be twice as far from the Sun every 1200 years - and we aren't.

See my 4 earlier posts about Einstein on this blog.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Dividing answer into personal (this one) and scientific (the other one, whichever you authorise first).

Said I: No, it is not at all Marchia who had trodden the slippery slope of Newton.

Said you: As I say, I never said he did.

You are attacking a straw man and putting words in my mouth.

Say I: I did not say you said he did, but that you said that I said that he did, thereby putting words in my mouth.

Said u: And I think you are not reading my replies.

Say I: Not all of them, but at least what I reply to. Which I think you might do well to do before replying to mine.

Said you: And I do not live in the United States, nor am I American!

Say I: oooops! - you could really have fooled me on that in that earlier debate where you said English exact equivalent of "sie" (capitalized Sie in secondary use as polite adress) is "ye". A Brit would have known presumably that "sie"="seo" later replaced by "they" (a Danish word), and that "ye" (the acc. of which is "you") has for exact German equivalent "ihr" - or otherwise, if he did not knew that, he would have known he was no linguist.

I am sorry. As independently minded as an American, and yet not so. Are you Irish? Or Scottish? Or Ozzy?

(And if you are a S. Brit, like English or Welsh, and think I've been rude to your nation, denying it so to speak independent thinking, think of what you said about Germans: I am not one of them, but I grew up among Austrians, there are lots of Bavarians very like them, and N. Germans are very like the Danes I love as neighbours)

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Said you: For the record, I have never denied your theory that Newton's view of inertia/impetus leads to some of Einstein's theories.

Say I: then we agree. Or at least, we do not positively disagree.

Said u: My point was that the very idea that a force is imparted to a projectile and this causes motion, rather than Aristotle's antiperistasis, is not Newton's but was long ago discovered by Philoponus, but Newton does not acknowledge so great a source for so fundamental an idea.

Say I: a) Newton may well have discovered it independently, it may even have occurred to Aristotle but if so he may have refuted it as a consequence of his concept that matter is inert (=contains no cause of movement rather than Newton's =contains no cause for changing its movement or nonmovement). b) Newton already nearly said he did not bother to cite old sources since they did nothing as systematically close to Mathematics as he, which accounts for not citing either Philoponus or Buridan without actual denuial of them having discovered part of it before c) Newton was not under modern copyright legislation d) Newton's statement - as you agreed above - significantly and reletivistically differs from earlier statements

Said you: The result has been that men now speak of Newtonian physics and motion when they should speak of Philoponussian physics and motion.


Say I: do you talk of Neperian or of Bradwardinian logarithms? Bradwardine - a scholastic who denied free-will and real presence (but notv papacy or episcopacy) - had the idea of correspondence between arithmetic and geometric progressions, which is at the root of Neper's logarithms. But it was Neper who worked out the useful tables. Likewise, Newton made a system encompassing much detail, and useful for reference. Not all of it is based on either his misstatement of Buridan or on his partial correctitude in restating Buridan, whether he had read him or not.

Re Einstein, I enjoyed your posts on his mistakes enough to link to your posts.

Here is my post, link to the ones you write are in comments field

Tribunus said...

You repeat yourself and I do not normally post repeats since the argument has already been had.

However, I include your repeats since you have some very interesting other information there, for which many thanks.

As to your repeats - well, see my earlier replies!

Best,

Trib.

Tribunus said...

One point, however.

I have said nothing rude about Germans.

In fact, you can see from my blog that I am a supporter of what the Germans call the "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation".

How much more praise do they want?

Conversely, I excoriate the Nazis who poured dirt and filth upon the good name of German history, as did, to a much lessers degree, the Protestant Prussians.

You would not disagree, surely?

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

We are pretty agreed on Nazism and on Prussia. I may except individuals who joined the party for opportunistic reasons, or who did some good besides their party program or so. But generally speaking this admirer of Louis II and of Dollfuss is no admirer of either Bismarck or Hitler.

Tribunus said...

Excellent!

I must do a post on Dollfuss - a much neglected Catholic hero.