[참조] standing on the shoulders of giants

Sir., — The hearing a letter of yours read last week in the meeting of the Royal Society, made me suspect that you might have been some way or other misinformed concerning me; and this suspicion was the more prevalent with me, when I called to mind the experience I have formerly had of the like sinister practices. I have therefore taken the freedom, which I hope I may be allowed in philosophical matters to acquaint you of myself. First, that I doe noe ways approve of contention, or feuding or proving in print, and shall be very unwillingly drawn to such kind of warre. Next, that I have a mind very desirous of, and very ready to embrace any truth that shall be discovered, though it may much thwart or contradict any opinions or notions I have formerly embraced as such. Thirdly, that I do justly value your excellent disquisitions, and am extremely well pleased to see those notions promoted and improved which I long since began, but had not time to compleat. That I judge you have gone farther in that affair much than I did, and that as I judge you cannot meet with any subject more worthy your contemplation, so I believe the subject cannot meet with a fitter and more able person to inquire into it than yourself, who are every way accomplished to compleat, rectify, and reform what were the sentiments of my younger studies, which I designed to have done somewhat at myself, if my other more troublesome employments would have permitted, though I am sufficiently sensible it would have been with abilities much inferior to yours. Your design and mine are, I suppose, both at the same thing, which is the discovery of truth, and I suppose we can both endure to hear objections, so as they come not in a manner of open hostility, and have minds equally inclined to yield to the plainest deductions of reason from experiment. If, therefore, you will please to correspond about such matters by private letters, I shall very gladly embrace it; and when I shall have the happiness to peruse your excellent discourse, (which I can as yet understand nothing more of by hearing it cursorily read,) I shall, if it be not ungrateful to you, send you freely my objections, if I have any, or my concurrences, if I am convinced, which is the more likely. This way of contending, I believe, to be the more philosophical of the two, for though I confess the collision of two hard-to-yield contenders may produce light, [yet] if they be put together by the ears by other’s hands and incentives, it will [produce rath]er ill concomitant heat, which serves for no other use but . . . . . . kindle — cole. Sr, I hope you will pardon this plainness of, your very affectionate humble servt,

- Robert Hooke

To this letter Newton sent the following reply: —

“Cambridge, February 5, 1675-6.

DR. Sir, — At the reading of your letter I was exceedingly pleased and satisfied with your generous freedom, and think you have done what becomes a true philosophical spirit. There is nothing which I desire to avoyde in matters of philosophy more than contention, nor any kind of contention more than one in print; and, therefore, I most gladly embrace your proposal of a private corre spondence. What’s done before many witnesses is seldom without some further concerns than that for truth; but what passes between friends in private, usually deserves the name of consultation rather than contention; and so I hope it will prove between you and me. Your animadversions will therefore be welcome to me; for though I was formerly tyred of this subject by the frequent interruptions it caused to me, and have not yet, nor I believe ever shall recover so much love for it as to delight in spending time about it; yet to have at once in short the strongest objections that may be made, I would really desire, and know no man better able to furnish me with them than yourself. In this you will oblige me, and if there be any thing else in my papers in which you apprehend I have assumed too . . . . . . . If you please to reserve your sentiments of it for a private letter, I hope you [will find that I] am not so much in love with philosophical productions, but that I can make them yield. . . . . . But, in the mean time, you defer too much to my ability in searching into this subject. What Descartes did was a good step. You have added much several ways, and especially in considering the colours of thin plates. If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. But I make no question you have divers very considerable experiments beside those you have published, and some, it’s very probable, the same with some of those in my late papers. Two at least there are, which I know you have often observed, — the dilatation of the coloured rings by the obliquation of the eye, and the apparition of a black spot at the contact of two convex glasses, and at the top of a water-bubble; and it’s probable there may be more, besides others which I have not made, so that I have reason to defer as much or more in this respect to you, as you would to me. But not to insist on this, your letter gives me occasion to enquire regarding an observation you was propounding to me to make here of the transit of a star near the zenith. I came out of London some days sooner than I told you of, it falling out so that I was to meet a friend then at Newmarket, and so missed of your intended directions; yet I called at your lodgings a day [or] two before I came away, but missed of you. If, therefore, you continue . . . . . . to have it observed, you may, by sending your directions, command . . . . . . your humble servant,