chapter  2
BUTTER FOR PARSNIPS Authorship, Audience, and the Incomprehensibility of the Principia
Pages 34

In this paper I examine how Newton developed a specifically mathe­ matical style in natural philosophy that owed a great deal to the narra­ tive form and mode of proof of the mixed mathematical sciences. The implied audience of such difficult texts stood in stark contrast to that emplotted within experimental reports of the late seventeenth century. Whereas the source of belief in the former is supposed to be primarily visual and based on an unconstrained act of will, the force of the demonstration of a mathematical text exerts something like an irre­ sistible compulsion on those that are held to comprehend it.