Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica

  • #1
Ad VanderVen
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Summary: Why did Newton call his book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica and not Philosophiae Naturae Principia Mathematica?

Why did Newton call his book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica and not Philosophiae Naturae Principia Mathematica?
 

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  • #2
fresh_42
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Because it is natural love of wisdom, not nature's love of wisdom.
 
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  • #3
kuruman
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Because it is natural love of wisdom, not nature's love of wisdom.
Resolving this composite word into three components is a bit ambiguous when preceded by an adjective. Perhaps natural love-of-wisdom? I prefer natural philosophy. It comes naturally to me. :oldsmile:
 
  • #4
Ad VanderVen
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English is not my native language and neither is Latin. So I can't follow arguments related to the idiom. What I do know is that naturalis means 'natural' and naturae 'of (the) nature'.
 
  • #5
fresh_42
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English is not my native language and neither is Latin. So I can't follow arguments related to the idiom. What I do know is that naturalis means 'natural' and naturae 'of (the) nature'.
Naturalis is the genitive of the adjective, naturae is the genitive of the noun.
Since 'natural' describes the kind of philosophy, it has to be the adjective.
 
  • #6
fresh_42
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I would translate it as 'The Mathematical Principle of Natural Sciences.

My English version did not translate the title, and my German version says 'Mathematische Principien der Naturlehre'. In case any of this helps.
 
  • #7
Ad VanderVen
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To fresh_42: Ah, now I see it: Natur wissenschaft (German) = natural science (English) and not science of nature.

But now another question: would you translate Mathematical Principals of Mind Science in Latin as Philosophiae Mentalis Principia Mathematica?
 
  • #8
fresh_42
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To fresh_42: Ah, now I see it: Natur wissenschaft (German) = natural science (English) and not science of nature.

But now another question: would you translate Mind Science in Latin as Philosophiae Mentalis?
According to Wikipedia that does not translate into English:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geisteswissenschaft
and it is probably simply Philosophia (sing.) or Philosophiae (Pl.) in Latin.

E.g. mathematics was always part of philosophy. That we consider it as a part of natural sciences is relatively modern.
 
  • #9
kuruman
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I would translate it as 'The Mathematical Principle of Natural Sciences.
You mean "(The) Mathematical Principles of Natural Sciences". Principia is the plural of principium.
 
  • #10
Ad VanderVen
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Let me be a little clearer. Newton had a theory about the motion of the planets and called his book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. I have a theory about the reaction times obtained in mental tasks. Suppose I also want to write a book about it in Latin. Could I then, by analogy with Newton, give the book the title Philosophiae Mentalis Principia Mathematica?
 
  • #11
fresh_42
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Let me be a little clearer. Newton had a theory about the motion of the planets and called his book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. I have a theory about the reaction times obtained in mental tasks. Suppose I also want to write a book about it in Latin. Could I then, by analogy with Newton, give the book the title Philosophiae Mentalis Principia Mathematica?
Yes.
 
  • #12
Ad VanderVen
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So not Philosophiae Mentis Principia Mathematica in analogy to Philosophiae Naturae Principia Mathematica.
 
  • #13
kuruman
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But now another question: would you translate Mind Science in Latin as Philosophiae Mentalis?
Assuming that you use the singular form, I would translate Philosophia Mentalis as Mental Philosophy which is not the same as Mind Science. I don't know enough Latin to be able to translate confidently Mind Science but I would not use the Latin word Philosophia for the English word Science. If that were the case, then Philosophy of Science, a well-established field, would translate as Philosophia Philosophiae which seems self-referential.
 
  • #14
fresh_42
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So not Philosophiae Mentis Principia Mathematica.
No. Mentalis would be correct:
1663714679098.png
 
  • #15
Ad VanderVen
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kuruman Of course I know that the philosophy of mind is different from the science of mind, but I would like to keep the analogy with Newton.
 
  • #17
pinball1970
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I would translate it as 'The Mathematical Principle of Natural Sciences.

My English version did not translate the title, and my German version says 'Mathematische Principien der Naturlehre'. In case any of this helps.
It is "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy" on wiki rather than "sciences"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophiæ_Naturalis_Principia_Mathematica

Physics was referred to "natural philosophy" in earlier times is this the reason? Or is this a Latin to German to English thing translation issue?
 
  • #18
fresh_42
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It is "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy" on wiki rather than "sciences"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophiæ_Naturalis_Principia_Mathematica

Physics was referred to "natural philosophy" in earlier times is this the reason? Or is this a Latin to German to English thing translation issue?
I consider the Wikipedia translation an accident, to say it politely. It has nothing to do with philosophy as we understand it nowadays. The English version of the book I found on the internet didn't translate it at all which is still better than translating it badly.

Latin, German, and my English translation (except for the forgotten plural @kuruman correctly noticed) are very much the same. "Lehre" in German, means "logos" in Greek, means "science" in English. Physics comes from nature, so Newton couldn't use physics without using 'nature' twice.

Philosophy means 'love of wisdom'. That was largely used for any science at times when people primarily wrote in Latin. I guess people considered the use of scientia (meaning knowledge) as too presumptuous.
 
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  • #19
fresh_42
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Btw., the German translation of "science" avoids the condescending "scientia = knowledge". In German it is "Wissenschaft", create knowledge.
 
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  • #20
Vanadium 50
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"A translation is like a mistress - if it is beautiful it is unfaithful and if it is faithful it is not beautiful."

(Ascribed to pretty much everybody from Anton Chekhov to Pavel Chekhov)
 
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  • #21
vanhees71
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Naturalis is the genitive of the adjective, naturae is the genitive of the noun.
Since 'natural' describes the kind of philosophy, it has to be the adjective.
One should also stress that nowadays it's called (natural) science what was called (natural) philosophy in Newton's times. It is very important that this split in two distinct fields of research has occured, leading to the great success of the natural sciences in our understanding of objective phenomena to be observed about the real world...
 
  • #22
vanhees71
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Btw., the German translation of "science" avoids the condescending "scientia = knowledge". In German it is "Wissenschaft", create knowledge.
My beloved mother tongue is very imprecise in calling everything "Wissenschaft" and not clearly distinguishing science from the humanities ;-). SCNR.
 
  • #23
fresh_42
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My beloved mother tongue is very imprecise in calling everything "Wissenschaft" and not clearly distinguishing science from the humanities ;-). SCNR.
I dislike the American view of us (public) versus them (scientists) and find it far more damaging and - regarding its consequences - stupid, if not even a justification of stupid! You can always distinguish Naturwissenschaften from Geisteswissenschaften, or switch to -logie or -kunde. (And until they blasted it, there was always what we as students called the Faulturm.)
 
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