Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

The Meaning and Status of Newton's Law of Inertia and the Nature of Gravitational Forces

Earman, J and Friedman, M (1973) The Meaning and Status of Newton's Law of Inertia and the Nature of Gravitational Forces. Philosophy of Science, 40 (3). 329 - 359. ISSN 0031-8248

[img] Plain Text (licence)
Available under License : See the attached license file.

Download (1kB)


<jats:p>A four dimensional approach to Newtonian physics is used to distinguish between a number of different structures for Newtonian space-time and a number of different formulations of Newtonian gravitational theory. This in turn makes possible an in-depth study of the meaning and status of Newton's Law of Inertia and a detailed comparison of the Newtonian and Einsteinian versions of the Law of Inertia and the Newtonian and Einsteinian treatments of gravitational forces. Various claims about the status of Newton's Law of Inertia are critically examined including these: the Law of Inertia is not an empirical law but a definition; it is not a law <jats:italic>simpliciter</jats:italic> but a family of schemata; it is a convention and gravitational forces exist only by convention; it is (or is not) redundant; the concepts it embodies can be dispensed with in favor of operationally defined entities; it is unique for a given theory. More generally, the paper demonstrates the importance of space-time structure for the philosophy of space and time and provides support for a realist interpretation of space-time theories.</jats:p>


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Earman, Jjearman@pitt.eduJEARMAN
Friedman, M
Centers: University Centers > Center for Philosophy of Science
Date: September 1973
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophy of Science
Volume: 40
Number: 3
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Page Range: 329 - 359
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1086/288536
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History and Philosophy of Science
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0031-8248
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2012 13:25
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2022 14:55


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item