of: General kinds of
rules of inference one chooses to
rely on. Several philosophers, notably Epicure, Descartes, and Newton
published some such rules they called rules of reasoning.
Rules of Reasoning minus his comments are as follows, where it should
be realised that in the following quotation Newton meant by "experimental
philosophy" what we call "natural science"
and that a shorter version of "which admit neither
intensifcation nor remission of degrees" is "which
are invariant". Newton added these rules to the second edition of
his Principia, in 1714. I prefix them with one important condition, and assume
them, to start with, for my Natural
Provided we have no evidence to the contrary,
to the best of our knowledge:
Rule I :
We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true
and sufficient to explain their appearances.
Rule II : Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as
possible, assign the same reasons.
Rule III : The qualities of bodies, which admit neither
intensification nor remission of degrees, and which are found to belong to
all bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to be esteemed the
universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever.
Rule IV : In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions
inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly
true, notwithstanding any contrary hypotheses that may be imagined, till
such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may be either made more
accurate, or liable to exception.
It is noteworthy and interesting that all four principles can be argued by
probability theory at least if this is extended with some assumptions. See