To understand Newton it's good not only to read about Newton, but to read some of his writings
for yourself. The following Exhibits Online provide a sample of excerpts
from Newton, introduced with minimal commentary. Read the brief comments and
then click the screenshots to read excerpts from Newton's works.
Optional: Facsimile images of several hundred pages from Newton's works are
available here.

T or F? Newton argued that physics
should be qualitative rather than mathematical.

T or F? The General Scholium
appeared in Book III of the first edition of the Principia (1687).

T or F? Newton referred to
his laws of motion as "axioms."
 T or F? Newton derived the Galilean laws of
free fall in Book III, The System of the World.
 T or F? Newton attempted to provide a complete
foundation for physics based on logical demonstration by reference only to
matter in motion.
 T or F? Cartesian mechanistic philosophers
aimed to produce a physics that would provide probable or provisional knowledge.
 T or F? To Cartesians, mathematical explanations
like Newton's law of gravity were seriously incomplete because they offered
no mechanism to account for the cause of gravity.
 T or F? Phenomenalism refers to the view that
scientific explanations must include the essences of things, known through
their necessary causes.

T or F? Newton accepted Aristotle's
dichotomy between the heavenly realms above the Moon and the terrestrial
realms below the Moon.

T or F? Newton argued that physics
should be qualitative rather than mathematical.

T or F? Instead of offering speculative
mechanistic explanations, Newton argued that it is sufficient in science
to offer mathematical equations that quantitatively describe how gravity
works.

T or F? Newton's Optics
(1604) represents the triumph of mathematical physics.

T or F? Leibniz stole the calculus
from Newton.

T or F? Historians such as Dobbs
attribute Newton's willingness to entertain concepts of forces acting at
great distances to his alchemical investigations.

T or F? Many historians attribute
Newton’s empirical methods to his voluntarist theology, in which nature
was regarded as contingent because of the freedom of the divine will, in
contrast to rational necessity.

T or F? In the General Scholium,
Newton argued that the system of the Sun, planets and comets could only
arise from the orderly operations of the laws of nature acting upon a cosmos
of matter in motion.
 T or F? In the General Scholium, Newton argued
that through a combination of reason and experiment we can attain knowledge
of the inward substances or essences of things.
 T or F? In the General Scholium, Newton argued
that blind necessity would produce a tremendous variety of things in different
places and times.
 T or F? In the General Scholium, Newton framed
several hypotheses about possible causes of gravitational attraction in order
to make his mathematical physics more plausible.