David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of the History of Philosophy 34 (2):193-212 (1996)
Indifference, Necessity, and Descartes's Derivation of the Laws of Motion BLAKE D. DUTTON WHILE WORKING ON Le Monde, his first comprehensive scientific treatise, Des- cartes writes the following to Mersenne: "I think that all those to whom God has given the use of this reason have an obligation to employ it principally in the endeavor to know him and to know themselves. This is the task with which I began my studies; and I can say that I would not have been able to discover the foundations of physics if I had not looked for them along that road" . ' As the letter makes clear, knowl- edge of the foundations of Cartesian physics is inextricably linked to the knowledge of God. Unfortunately, Descartes never explains why this is the case, and the relation in which his theistic doctrine stands to his physics remains unspecified. In what follows I wish to clarify that relation by examining some of the problems surrounding Descartes's attempt to locate the metaphysical founda- tions of his physics in his doctrine of God. I begin my analysis with a discussion of the doctrine of divine indifference and argue that this doctrine is of great importance to any interpretation of the foundations of Cartesian physics, insofar as it provides Descartes with a rationale for dismissing the appeal to final causation in scientific explanation. Insofar as this is the case, it supplies an important piece of his justification for mechanism...
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Tad M. Schmaltz (2003). Cartesian Causation: Body–Body Interaction, Motion, and Eternal Truths. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34 (4):737-762.
Andrew Pessin (2010). Divine Simplicity and the Eternal Truths: Descartes and the Scholastics. Philosophia 38 (1):69-105.
Similar books and articles
Dan Kaufman (2003). Infimus Gradus Libertatis? Descartes on Indifference and Divine Freedom. Religious Studies 39 (4):391-406.
Dana Jalobeanu & Peter R. Anstey (eds.) (2011). Vanishing Matter and the Laws of Motion: Descartes and Beyond. Routledge.
Richard Arthur (2007). Beeckman, Descartes and the Force of Motion. Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (1):1--28.
Scott Tanona (2000). The Anticipation of Necessity: Kant on Kepler's Laws and Universal Gravitation. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):421-443.
Thomas M. Lennon (2007). The Eleatic Descartes. Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (1):29-45.
Edward Slowik (1999). Descartes, Spacetime, and Relational Motion. Philosophy of Science 66 (1):117-139.
Geoffrey Gorham (2005). The Metaphysical Roots of Cartesian Physics: The Law of Rectilinear Motion. Perspectives on Science 13 (4):431-451.
Edward Slowik (2002). Descartes' Forgotten Hypotheses on Motion. Journal of Philosophical Research 27:433-448.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads17 ( #203,806 of 1,789,985 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #167,785 of 1,789,985 )
How can I increase my downloads?