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Zvi Biener
University of Cincinnati
  1.  74
    The Certainty, Modality, and Grounding of Newton’s Laws.Zvi Biener & Eric Schliesser - 2017 - The Monist 100 (3):311-325.
    Newton began his Principia with three Axiomata sive Leges Motus. We offer an interpretation of Newton’s dual label and investigate two tensions inherent in his account of laws. The first arises from the juxtaposition of Newton’s confidence in the certainty of his laws and his commitment to their variability and contingency. The second arises because Newton ascribes fundamental status both to the laws and to the bodies and forces they govern. We argue the first is resolvable, but the second is (...)
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  2.  81
    Cotes’ Queries: Newton’s Empiricism and Conceptions of Matter.Zvi Biener & Chris Smeenk - 2012 - In Eric Schliesser & Andrew Janiak (eds.), Interpreting Newton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 105-137.
    We argue that a conflict between two conceptions of “quantity of matter” employed in a corollary to proposition 6 of Book III of the Principia illustrates a deeper conflict between Newton’s view of the nature of extended bodies and the concept of mass appropriate for the theoretical framework of the Principia. We trace Newton’s failure to recognize the conflict to the fact that he allowed for the justification of natural philosophical claims by two types of a posteriori, empiricist methodologies. Newton's (...)
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  3.  67
    Isaac Newton (1642–1727).Zvi Biener - 2017 - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Isaac Newton is best known as a mathematician and physicist. He invented the calculus, discovered universal gravitation and made significant advances in theoretical and experimental optics. His master-work on gravitation, the Principia, is often hailed as the crowning achievement of the scientific revolution. His significance for philosophers, however, extends beyond the philosophical implications of his scientific discoveries. Newton was an able and subtle philosopher, working at a time when science was not yet recognized as an activity distinct from philosophy. He (...)
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  4. Hobbes on the Order of Sciences: A Partial Defense of the Mathematization Thesis.Zvi Biener - 2016 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (3):312-332.
    Accounts of Hobbes’s ‘system’ of sciences oscillate between two extremes. On one extreme, the system is portrayed as wholly axiomtic-deductive, with statecraft being deduced in an unbroken chain from the principles of logic and first philosophy. On the other, it is portrayed as rife with conceptual cracks and fissures, with Hobbes’s statements about its deductive structure amounting to mere window-dressing. This paper argues that a middle way is found by conceiving of Hobbes’s _Elements of Philosophy_ on the model of a (...)
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  5.  44
    Newton's Regulae Philosophandi.Zvi Biener - 2018 - In Chris Smeenk & Eric Schliesser (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Isaac Newton. Oxford University Press.
    Newton’s Regulae philosophandi—the rules for reasoning in natural philosophy—are maxims of causal reasoning and induction. This essay reviews their significance for Newton’s method of inquiry, as well as their application to particular propositions within the Principia. Two main claims emerge. First, the rules are not only interrelated, they defend various facets of the same core idea: that nature is simple and orderly by divine decree, and that, consequently, human beings can be justified in inferring universal causes from limited phenomena, if (...)
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  6.  79
    De Gravitatione Reconsidered: The Changing Significance of Empirical Evidence for Newton's Metaphysics of Space.Zvi Biener - unknown
    I argue that Isaac Newton's De Gravitatione should not be considered an authoritative expression of his thought about the metaphysics of space and its relation to physical inquiry. I establish the following narrative: In De Gravitatione (circa 1668–84), Newton claimed he had direct experimental evidence for the work's central thesis: that space had "its own manner of existing" as an affection or emanative effect. In the 1710s, however, through the prodding of Roger Cotes and G. W. Leibniz, he came to (...)
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  7.  57
    Pendulums, Pedagogy, and Matter: Lessons From the Editing of Newton's Principia.Zvi Biener & Chris Smeenk - 2004 - Science & Education 13 (4-5):309-320.
    Teaching Newtonian physics involves the replacement of students’ ideas about physical situations with precise concepts appropriate for mathematical applications. This paper focuses on the concepts of ‘matter’ and ‘mass’. We suggest that students, like some pre-Newtonian scientists we examine, use these terms in a way that conflicts with their Newtonian meaning. Specifically, ‘matter’ and ‘mass’ indicate to them the sorts of things that are tangible, bulky, and take up space. In Newtonian mechanics, however, the terms are defined by Newton’s Second (...)
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