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Milky Ways, or island universes (galaxies similar to and beyond the boundaries of our own galaxy). Return of Halley's comet, as he predicted before his death in 1743.

Transit of Venus, as Halley predicted before his death in 1743.

Transit of Venus, as Halley predicted before his death in 1743.

Thomas Jefferson invokes laws of nature in the

American Declaration of Independence.

The Scottish economist Adam Smith invokes laws of nature in his Wealth of Nations.

Laplace resolves a large anomaly in the motions of

Jupiter and Saturn.

Laplace resolves an anomaly in the acceleration of the Moon's orbital speed around the Earth. Publication of Laplace's Exposition du système du monde.

Publication of Laplace's Mécanique céleste in four volumes.

Publication of Zur Farbenlehre, Johann Goethe's fierce attack on Newton's optics. Pierre Duhem. French physicist and historian and philosopher of science. An ardent defender in partisan polemical battles of nineteenth-century French instrumentalism against rival views of scientific theory, Duhem found in medieval philosophy the birth of modern scientific theory. His instrumentalist view became the dominant characterization of astronomical science from the Greeks through Copernicus. Only recently have scholars came to favor a realist interpretation: the scientists thought they were discovering reality, not merely useful fictions. Yet another theme set by Duhem for the history of medieval science was his assertion that mechanics and physics proceeded by a series of small improvements from the Middle Ages to modern times. Some of Duhem's more extreme claims, including the purported anticipation of the concept of inertia in medieval impetus theory, have been modified. Duhem found in the condemnation of 1277 a blow against entrenched Aristotelianism and therefore an opening for the birth of modern science; others interpret the condemnations as a subordination of philosophy to theology.

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