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Academics really do not have significant insight into the history of their own field. The problem is really, that history makes for a nice introductory paragraph and by the time you can call yourself an academic you are very confident in your knowledge of history of the field because you read hundreds of times the introductory paragraph.

To make matters worse, the introductory paragraph was written by someone who has no training as an historian, and therefore also just paraphrases some tradition of introductory paragraphs.

As a concrete example, Newton's laws are actually not in the principia, but instead only appear a hundred years or so after his death. ( It is actually not unreasonable to still call them Newton's laws, but the argument is a lot more complicated than "Newton wrote Newton's laws.")

Oxford's Newton Project text of the book has the Newton's Laws in the 1687 version here: [http://www.newtonproject.ox.ac.uk/view/texts/normalized/NATP...]

What makes you think they were not?

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