A preface (co-written with Zvi Biener), defending the title 'Newton and Empiricism,' has come under fire from the Otago-school (see this post by Kirsten Walsh). The Otago-school insists that 'empiricism' is anachronistic and that we need to use a distinction between experimental and speculative philosophers (they use the acronym ESD) in order to do justice to even Newton. Here's Walsh:
Over the last four years, we have provided many arguments for the superiority of the ESD over the RED. An important line of argument has been to show that ‘experimental philosophy’ and ‘speculative philosophy’ were the key terms of reference used by the actors themselves, and that they characterised their own work in terms of this division. For example, I have argued here, here, here and here that Newton is best understood as an experimental philosopher.
It's true there are features of Newton's enterprise that fit the 'experimental' paradigm (as understood by early modernists) nicely--the Opticks is characteristic this (as I.B. Cohen recognized a long time ago). The problem is 'Otago' has never come to terms to the fact that Newton's Principia is much better understood in terms of Huygens's Horologium Oscillatorium, which is presupposed in a lot of the technical discussions of the Principia. Huygens' book does not fit the ESD at all. Strikingly in her blog post, Walsh misses this point even though it was signalled in the very first paragraph of our introduction: "Newton...explicitly affiliated himself in the Principia with the mathematical-experimental tradition of Galileo and Huygens." That is to say, the ESD fits the mainstream in the Royal Society (say between 1660-1685) very well, but is un-illuminating in other respects.* Sure, it's legitimate to claim that in some respects Newton is a "development of the experimental philosophy," (emphasis in original) but if you systematically overlook the Horologium, you can't even begin to do justice to Newton's Principia. It's like discussing Virgil in the context of Roman poetry without ever mentioning Homer.