Newton's substance monism, distant action, and the nature of Newton's empiricism: discussion of H. Kochiras “Gravity and Newton's substance counting problem”

Abstract
This paper is a critical response to Hylarie Kochiras’ “Gravity and Newton’s substance counting problem,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 40 267–280. First, the paper argues that Kochiras conflates substances and beings; it proceeds to show that Newton is a substance monist. The paper argues that on methodological grounds Newton has adequate resources to respond to the metaphysical problems diagnosed by Kochiras. Second, the paper argues against the claim that Newton is committed to two speculative doctrines attributed to him by Kochiras and earlier Andrew Janiak: i) the passivity of matter and ii) the principle of local causation. Third, the paper argues that while Kochiras’ arguments about Newton’s metaphysical commitments are mistaken, it qualifies the characterization of Newton as an extreme empiricist as defended by Howard Stein and Rob DiSalle. In particular, the paper shows that Newton’s empiricism was an intellectual and developmental achievement that built on non trivial speculative commitments about the nature of matter and space.Keywords: Newton; Substance; Action at a distance; Space; Matter; Empiricism
Keywords Matter  Action at a distance  Space  Substance  Newton  Empiricism
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References found in this work BETA
Steffen Ducheyne (2009). Understanding (in) Newton's Argument for Universal Gravitation. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 40 (2):227 - 258.
Andrew Janiak (2007). Newton and the Reality of Force. Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (1):127-147.

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Similar books and articles
Hylarie Kochiras (2009). Gravity and Newton's Substance Counting Problem. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 40 (3):267-280.
Hylarie Kochiras (2013). Causal Language and the Structure of Force in Newton'sSystem of the World. Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 3 (2):210-235.
Andrew Janiak (2007). Newton and the Reality of Force. Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (1):127-147.
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