Ask a question about 'Newtonianism'
Start a new discussion about 'Newtonianism'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
Newtonianism is a doctrine that involves following the principles and using the methods of natural philosopher Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

. While Newton's influential contributions were primarily in physics and mathematics, his broad conception of the universe as being governed by rational and understandable laws laid the foundation for many strands of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 thought. Newtonianism became an enormously influential intellectual program that applied Newton's principles in many avenues of enquiry, laying the groundwork for modern science (both the natural and social sciences), in addition to influencing philosophy, political thought and theology.

Newtonian doctrine can be contrasted with several alternative sets of principles and methods such as Cartesianism
Cartesian means of or relating to the French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes—from his name—Rene Des-Cartes. It may refer to:*Cartesian anxiety*Cartesian circle*Cartesian dualism...

, Leibnizianism and Wolffianism.

As examples of his far-flung influence, David Hume
David Hume
David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment...

, for one, was keen to make use of Newtonian experimental principles in the examination of moral subjects, while Colin Maclaurin
Colin Maclaurin
Colin Maclaurin was a Scottish mathematician who made important contributions to geometry and algebra. The Maclaurin series, a special case of the Taylor series, are named after him....

 wrote an MA thesis on the application of the calculus in morality. The religious philosophy Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

is strongly Newtonian.