Why the parts of absolute space are immobile

Newton's arguments for the immobility of the parts of absolute space have been claimed to licence several proposals concerning his metaphysics. This paper clarifies Newton, first distinguishing two distinct arguments. Then, it demonstrates, contrary to Nerlich ([2005]), that Newton does not appeal to the identity of indiscernibles, but rather to a view about de re representation. Additionally, DiSalle ([1994]) claims that one argument shows Newton to be an anti-substantivalist. I agree that its premises imply a denial of a kind of substantivalism, but I show that they are inconsistent with Newton's core doctrine that not all motion is the relative motions of bodies, and so conclude that they are not part of his considered views on space. The Arguments The Identity Argument 2.1 Identity of indiscernibles for individuals 2.2 Identity of indiscernibles for worlds and states 2.3 Representation de re Kinematic Relationism Conclusion CiteULike    Connotea    Del.icio.us    What's this?
Keywords substantivalism, Newton, motion, spacetime, space, Nerlich, DiSalle
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axn013
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References found in this work BETA
Tim Maudlin (1990). Substances and Space-Time: What Aristotle Would Have Said to Einstein. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 21 (4):531--61.
Robert Disalle (1994). On Dynamics, Indiscernibility, and Spacetime Ontology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (1):265-287.
W. V. Quine (1976). Grades of Discriminability. Journal of Philosophy 73 (5):113-116.

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