Two dramatically different philosophical approaches to classical mechanics were developed during the 17th – 18th centuries. Newton developed his vectorial formulation that uses time-dependent differential equations of motion to relate vector observables like force and rate of change of momentum. Euler, Lagrange, Hamilton, and Jacobi, developed powerful alternative variational formulations based on the assumption that nature follows the principle of least action. These powerful variational formulations have become the preeminent philosophical approach used in modern science, as well as having applications to other fields such as economics and engineering.
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