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De Motu, Section Thirty-six

25 September, 2015 - 15:18

It will be of great importance to consider what properly a principle is, and how that term is to be understood by philoso- phers. The true, efficient and conserving cause of an things by supreme right is called their fount and principle. Yet it is proper to describe as the ‘principles’ of experimental philosophy the foundations upon which it rests, the springs from which flows, not the existence, but our knowledge of corporeal things; I mean, the senses and experience. Similarly in mechanical philosophy those are to be called principles, in which the whole discipline is grounded and contained, those primary laws of motions which have been proved by experiments, elaborated by reason and rendered universal. These laws of motion are conveniently called principles, since from them are derived both general mechanical theorems and particular explanations of the phenomena.