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Episteme

Abstract

Kuhn can be used to describe shifts in science other than just the Copernican Revolution. This paper argues that Newton’s theory of mechanics, especially the notion of gravitational force, only appears to be responding to “deficiencies” in Descartes’ corpuscularism. In reality, Newton’s theory represents a paradigm shift. To make his case, the author first supplies useful summaries of Descartes’ and Newton’s sciences, as well as Kuhn’s meta-scientific project. The author then emphasizes that on issues like gravity and mass, the Cartesian and Newtonian systems of science hold each other’s theoretical concepts to be senseless when judged from within their own. Kuhn’s theory of scientific revolutions provides an appropriate lens through which to understand this stage in the history of science.

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