Article ID: CBB380541558

What Motion is: William Neile and the Laws of Motion (2017)


In 1668–1669 William Neile and John Wallis engaged in a protracted correspondence regarding the nature of motion. Neile was unhappy with the laws of motion that had been established by the Royal Society in three papers published in 1668, deeming them not explanations of motion at all, but mere descriptions. Neile insisted that science could not be informative without a discussion of causes, meaning that Wallis's purely kinematic account of collision could not be complete. Wallis, however, did not consider Neile’s objections to his work to be serious. Rather than engage in a discussion of the proper place of natural philosophy in science, Wallis decided to show how Neile's preferred treatment of motion lead to absurd conclusions. This dispute is offered as a case study of dispute resolution within the early Royal Society.

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Authors & Contributors
Palmerino, Carla Rita
Henry, John
William W. Hackborn
Stefan Paul Trzeciok
Richter, Adam
Fehige, Yiftach
Galilæana: Journal of Galilean Studies
British Journal for the History of Science
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
Physics in Perspective
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
History of Science
Edition Open Sources
Edition Open Access
Universiteit Gent (Belgium)
Edizioni dell'Orso
University of Toronto
University of Minnesota
Motion (physical)
Natural philosophy
Galilei, Galileo
Wallis, John
Newton, Isaac
Descartes, René
Tartaglia, Niccolò
Wren, Christopher
Time Periods
17th century
16th century
3rd century, B.C.
Great Britain
Royal Society of London

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