Modern physics begins with Newton’s

Modern physics begins with Newton’s first law of motion, sc. that an object will persevere in a state of rest or of uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force. There are a thousand different things to notice about the law; one of the most significant is that the law is founded upon the fact that modern physics will only concern itself with things inasmuch as they are measured. We can see this in Newton speaking indifferently about “the state of uniform motion” and “the state of rest”. The two are viewed indifferently because the two give equal measurements to one resting, or one moving in a uniform straight line. It is also true that the two feel the same, but this makes no difference, except inasmuch as it affects the reading on a measurement device (physics is not about how motion feels to us).

This is one aspect of modern physics that has stayed constant even after relativity theory; for example, if gravity and inertial motion admit if the same numerical measurements, they are viewed as the same, just as electricity and magnatism are regarded as the same, because they travel at the same speed.


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