David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 83 (2):215 - 238 (1990)
Here I reexamine Duhem's question of the continuity between medieval dynamics and early modern conservation theories. I concentrate on the heavens. For Aristotle, the motions of the heavens are eternally constant (and thus mathematizable) because an eternally constant divine Reason is their mover. Duhem thought that impetus and conservation theories, by extending sublunar mechanics to the heavens, made a divine renewer of motion redundant. By contrast, I show how Descartes derives his law of conservation by extending Aristotelian celestial dynamics to the earth. Descartes argues that motion is intrinsically linear, not circular. But he agrees that motion is mathematically intelligible only where divine Reason moves bodies in a constant and eternal motion. Descartes strips bodies of active powers, leaving God as the only natural mover; thus both celestial and sublunar motions are constant, and uniformly mathematizable. The law of conservation of the total quantity of motion is an attempt to harmonize the constancy derived a priori with the phenomenal inconstancy of sublunar motions.
|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
Anneliese Maier (1982). On the Threshold of Exact Science: Selected Writings of Anneliese Maier on Late Medieval Natural Philosophy. University of Pennsylvania Press.
Stephen Philip Menn (1998). Descartes and Augustine. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Edward Slowik (1999). Descartes' Quantity of Motion: 'New Age' Holism Meets the Cartesian Conservation Principle. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (2):178–202.
Geoffrey Gorham (2004). Cartesian Causation: Continuous, Instantaneous, Overdetermined. Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (4):389-423.
Richard Arthur (2007). Beeckman, Descartes and the Force of Motion. Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (1):1--28.
Edward Slowik (1999). Descartes, Spacetime, and Relational Motion. Philosophy of Science 66 (1):117-139.
Thomas M. Lennon (2007). The Eleatic Descartes. Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (1):29-45.
Andrew R. Platt (2011). Divine Activity and Motive Power in Descartes's Physics. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (4):623 - 646.
Andrew Pessin (2010). Divine Simplicity and the Eternal Truths: Descartes and the Scholastics. Philosophia 38 (1):69-105.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads28 ( #62,300 of 1,101,622 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #178,496 of 1,101,622 )
How can I increase my downloads?