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Master Thesis

Newton, theology and the inductive method

Abstract : This dissertation focuses on the theological and scientific writings of Isaac Newton (17th century English mathematician and physicist) and aims to show how his religious beliefs and theological views conditioned his conception of science. It is therefore in the line of the most recent essays on Newton which support the thesis in favour of the unity of Newton's thought. Indeed, the new generation of scholars (M. Mamiani, S. Hutton, J. E. Force) has laid emphasis on the fact that, though there is no denying that Newton's scientific mind influenced the manner by which he interpreted prophetic texts, his religious beliefs (his Protestantism, his Anti-Trinitarianism, his Arianism) have certainly contributed to shape his conception of science and are most likely at the origin of his beliefs in all the other fields of knowledge he studied. Thus, the thesis this dissertation tries to defend is that the seeds of the inductive method as defined in The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy first published in 1687 are clearly visible for the first time in a theological treatise (Untitled Treatise MS.1) that Newton wrote in the 1670s and not in one of his early scientific writings. Consequently, this dissertation expands on Maurizio Mamiani's essay on Newton on prophecy and the Apocalypse and his chart comparing the rules of method of the Regulae Philosophandi and the Untitled Treatise. By showing the similarities between Newton's hermeneutic method and inductive method, this dissertation propounds that the Newtonian thought was complex and multi-determined, the result of a constant intermingling between the various fields of knowledge (including science and religion) he studied.
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Master Thesis
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  • HAL Id : dumas-00929845, version 1

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Sophie Bourrat. Newton, theology and the inductive method. Literature. 2012. ⟨dumas-00929845⟩

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