Descartes and some predecessors on the divine conservation of motion

Synthese 83 (2):215 - 238 (1990)
Abstract
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)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,826
External links
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
Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

29 ( #63,451 of 1,100,145 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #127,217 of 1,100,145 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.