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Proposition II (Book I) of Newton’s Principia

# Proposition II (Book I) of Newton’s Principia,10.1007/s00407-008-0033-y,Archive for History of Exact Sciences,Bruce Pourciau

Proposition II (Book I) of Newton’s Principia
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After preparing the way with comments on evanescent quantities and then Newton’s interpretation of his second law, this study of Proposition II (Book I)— Proposition II Every body that moves in some curved line described in a plane and, by a radius drawn to a point, either unmoving or moving uniformly forward with a rectilinear motion, describes areas around that point proportional to the times, is urged by a centripetal force tending toward that same point. —asks and answers the following questions: When does a version of Proposition II first appear in Newton’s work? What revisions bring that initial version to the final form in the 1726 Principia? What, exactly, does this proposition assert? In particular, what does Newton mean by the motion of a body “urged by a centripetal force”? Does it assert a true mathematical claim? If not, what revision makes it true? Does the demonstration of Proposition II persuade? Is it as convincing, for example, as the most convincing arguments of the Principia? If not, what revisions would make the demonstration more persuasive? What is the importance of Proposition II, to the physics of Book III and the mathematics of Book I?
Journal: Archive for History of Exact Sciences , vol. 63, no. 2, pp. 129-167, 2009
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## Citation Context (1)

• ...toward the central point whenever every vertex of every polygonal motion has a resting deflection directed toward the central point (Pourciau 2009, pp. 23‐24)...

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