The Nature of Natural Law

This module examines the evolution of our present theoretical understanding of some basic aspects of the physical world around us. It explores the role of certain primitive concepts of science and how these key ideas have been used to construct a coherent ‘mental’ picture of the physical world. The particular focus this semester will be on a wellestablished and ‘deterministic’ law of nature: the Law of Universal Gravity and how this led to Newton’s prediction of the motion of the planets. The module will also question, on a higher level, the nature of ‘scientific explanations’: how these are extended over time and inevitably get modified by having to take into account new ‘facts’ provided by observation and experiment.

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