Sunday, May 31, 2009

Newtonianism and Pope and Descartes n stuff

So, it appears that the worldviews of Descartes and Newton were fighting for power over the period. Not sure what belonged where, but generally I think the idea is a world that can be explained and a world that is less about god than man.

Newton: Math, experiment, mechanistic - but also with fluids and invisible gases, Gravity really was a big deal, and ideas about how things had density and pull
Descartes: Reason, induction, mechanistic with no invisible stuff

Pope epitaph on Newton ... "Nature and Nature's Law, lay hid in night / God said 'Let Newton be!' and all was light", Pope was also interested in gravity and gravitas - and he and Swift were unhappy with the dull pedantry of minor scientists. Fight between ancients and moderns and between prose and poetry writers. (See for more). So is wit and poetry an attempt to balance prosaic study of nature - art against science?

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