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I recently read this thread THREAD describing the relationship between Hegel and Newton. Apparently, Hegel misread Newton's principia, and criticized a specific point of science on Newton. This is detailed on the thread's reference to Mauro Nasti De Vincentis, Hegel's Worm in Newton's Apple.

Could someone please help me understand and parse through De Vincentis' argument in this paper? The physics of the proof are beyond my level, but I'm trying to understand the philosophy of why Hegel would cite flaws in Newton, a far superior scientist.

  • There is not much physics to his argument. It is essentially a technical complaint about Newton's calculus manipulations, he did not prove that polygonal arcs converge to the continuous limiting orbit in the sense that would guarantee the area law. This is rather anachronistic, given the technical standards of the time, and linking it to Hegel is a big stretch. This particular Hegel's criticism was obscure and rather inconsequential, his main beef was about something else. – Conifold Mar 28 at 19:52
  • Ah interesting. Where did Hegel draw his major criticism of Newton then, which you reference as "main beef"? Could you point me in the direction of some sources to look? I've always guessed that it was a physics dislike, but if you say otherwise, where could I delve further? Thank you. – jeffersons Mar 29 at 1:01
  • The "main beef" was ideological, the opposition between the "mechanical" Newtonian worldview and the "organic" of German romanticism's (to which Hegel belonged) was in the Zeitgeist of Hegel's time. It was indeed the rejection of the conception of nature embodied in the Newtonian physics, but for much deeper reasons than technical imperfections of Newton's calculus. Just as earlier, much more influential, Berkeley's technical criticism of calculus in The Analyst was motivated by ideology. Look at the collection Hegel and Newtonianism cited in the accepted answer to the question you linked. – Conifold Mar 29 at 9:10

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