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Profile: Edward Slowik (Winona State University)
  1. Edward Slowik (2005). Spacetime, Ontology, and Structural Realism. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 19 (2):147 – 166.
    This essay explores the possibility of constructing a structural realist interpretation of spacetime theories that can resolve the ontological debate between substantivalists and relationists. Drawing on various structuralist approaches in the philosophy of mathematics, as well as on the theoretical complexities of general relativity, our investigation will reveal that a structuralist approach can be beneficial to the spacetime theorist as a means of deflating some of the ontological disputes regarding similarly structured spacetimes.
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  2.  68
    Edward Slowik (2013). Newton's Neo-Platonic Ontology of Space. Foundations of Science 18 (3):419-448.
    This paper investigates Newton’s ontology of space in order to determine its commitment, if any, to both Cambridge neo-Platonism, which posits an incorporeal basis for space, and substantivalism, which regards space as a form of substance or entity. A non-substantivalist interpretation of Newton’s theory has been famously championed by Howard Stein and Robert DiSalle, among others, while both Stein and the early work of J. E. McGuire have downplayed the influence of Cambridge neo-Platonism on various aspects of Newton’s own spatial (...)
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  3.  65
    Edward Slowik (2009). Newton's Metaphysics of Space: A “Tertium Quid” Betwixt Substantivalism and Relationism, or Merely a “God of the Gaps”? Perspectives on Science 17 (4):pp. 429-456.
    This paper investigates the question of, and the degree to which, Newton’s theory of space constitutes a third-way between the traditional substantivalist and relationist ontologies, i.e., that Newton judged that space is neither a type of substance/entity nor purely a relation among such substances. A non-substantivalist reading of Newton has been famously defended by Howard Stein, among others; but, as will be demonstrated, these claims are problematic on various grounds, especially as regards Newton’s alleged rejection of the traditional substance/accident dichotomy (...)
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  4. Edward Slowik (2012). On Structuralism's Multiple Paths Through Spacetime Theories. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (1):45-66.
    This essay examines the underdetermination problem that plagues structuralist approaches to spacetime theories, with special emphasis placed on the epistemic brands of structuralism, whether of the scientific realist variety or not. Recent non-realist structuralist accounts, by Friedman and van Fraassen, have touted the fact that different structures can accommodate the same evidence as a virtue vis-à-vis their realist counterparts; but, as will be argued, these claims gain little traction against a properly constructed liberal version of epistemic structural realism. Overall, a (...)
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  5. J. E. McGuire & Edward Slowik (2012). Newton's Ontology of Omnipresence and Infinite Space. Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy 6.
    This essay explores the role of God’s omnipresence in Newton’s natural philosophy, with special emphasis placed on how God is related to space. Unlike Descartes’ conception, which denies the spatiality of God, or Gassendi and Charleton’s view, which regards God as completely whole in every part of space, it is argued that Newton accepts spatial extension as a basic aspect of God’s omnipresence. The historical background to Newton’s spatial ontology assumes a large part of our investigation, but with attention also (...)
     
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  6. Edward Slowik (2005). On the Cartesian Ontology of General Relativity: Or, Conventionalism in the History of the Substantival-Relational Debate. Philosophy of Science 72 (5):1312-1323.
    Utilizing Einstein’s comparison of General Relativity and Descartes’ physics, this investigation explores the alleged conventionalism that pervades the ontology of substantival and relationist conceptions of spacetime. Although previously discussed, namely by Rynasiewicz and Hoefer, it will be argued that the close similarities between General Relativity and Cartesian physics have not been adequately treated in the literature—and that the disclosure of these similarities bolsters the case for a conventionalist interpretation of spacetime ontology.
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  7.  83
    Edward Slowik (2012). The 'Properties' of Leibnizian Space: Whither Relationism? Intellectual History Review 22 (1):107-129.
    This essay examines the metaphysical foundation of Leibniz’s theory of space against the backdrop of the subtantivalism/relationism debate and at the ontological level of material bodies and properties. As will be demonstrated, the details of Leibniz’ theory defy a straightforward categorization employing the standard relationism often attributed to his views. Rather, a more careful analysis of his metaphysical doctrines related to bodies and space will reveal the importance of a host of concepts, such as the foundational role of God, the (...)
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  8.  61
    Edward Slowik (2013). The Deep Metaphysics of Quantum Gravity: The Seventeenth Century Legacy and an Alternative Ontology Beyond Substantivalism and Relationism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 44 (4):490-499.
    This essay presents an alternative to contemporary substantivalist and relationist interpretations of quantum gravity hypotheses by means of an historical comparison with the ontology of space in the seventeenth century. Utilizing differences in the spatial geometry between the foundational theory and the theory derived from the foundational, in conjunction with nominalism and platonism, it will be argued that there are crucial similarities between seventeenth century and contemporary theories of space, and that these similarities reveal a host of underlying conceptual issues (...)
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  9. Edward Slowik (1998). Cartesianism and the Kinematics of Mechanisms: Or, How to Find Fixed Reference Frames in a Cartesian Space-Time. Noûs 32 (3):364-385.
    In De gravitatione, Newton contends that Descartes' physics is fundamentally untenable since the "fixed" spatial landmarks required to ground the concept of inertial motion cannot be secured in the constantly changing Cartesian plenum. Likewise, it is has often been alleged that the collision rules in Descartes' Principles of Philosophy undermine the "relational" view of space and motion advanced in this text. This paper attempts to meet these challenges by investigating the theory of connected gears (or "kinematics of mechanisms") for a (...)
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  10.  63
    Edward Slowik (1999). Descartes, Spacetime, and Relational Motion. Philosophy of Science 66 (1):117-139.
    This paper examines Descartes' problematic relational theory of motion, especially when viewed within the context of his dynamics, the Cartesian natural laws. The work of various commentators on Cartesian motion is also surveyed, with particular emphasis placed upon the recent important texts of Garber and Des Chene. In contrast to the methodology of most previous interpretations, however, this essay employs a modern "spacetime" approach to the problem. By this means, the role of dynamics in Descartes' theory, which has often been (...)
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  11.  59
    Edward Slowik (2011). Newton, the Parts of Space, and the Holism of Spatial Ontology. Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 1 (2):249-272.
    This article investigates the problem of the identity of the parts of space in Newton’s natural philosophy, as well as the holistic or structuralist nature of Newton’s ontology of space. Additionally, this article relates the lessons reached in this historical and philosophical investigation to analogous debates in contemporary space-time ontology. While previous contributions, by Nerlich, Huggett, and others, have proven to be informative in evaluating Newton’s claims, it will be argued that the underlying goals of Newton’s views have largely eluded (...)
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  12. Edward Slowik (2002). Spatiotemporal Analogies: Are Space and Time Similar? Southern Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):123-134.
    This paper investigates a famous argument, first introduced by Richard Taylor, that attempts to establish a radical similarity in the concepts of space and time. The argument contends that the spatial and temporal aspects of material bodies are much more alike, or analogous, than has been hitherto acknowledged. As will be demonstrated, most of the previous investigations of Taylor and company have failed to pinpoint the weakest link in their complex of analogies. By concentrating on their most fundamental cases, however, (...)
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  13.  51
    Edward Slowik (2014). Hobbes and the Phantasm of Space. Hobbes Studies 27 (1):61-79.
    This essay examines Hobbes’ philosophy of space, with emphasis placed on the variety of interpretations that his concept of imaginary space has elicited from commentators. The process by which the idea of space is acquired from experience, as well as the role of nominalism, will be offered as important factors in tracking down the elusive content of Hobbes’ conception of imaginary space.
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  14.  47
    Edward Slowik (2001). Descartes and Individual Corporeal Substance. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 9 (1):1 – 15.
    This essay explores the vexed issue of individual corporeal substance in Descartes' natural philosophy. Although Descartes' often referred to individual material objects as separate substances, the constraints on his definitions of matter and substance would seem to favor the opposite view; namely, that there exists only one corporeal substance, the plenum. In contrast to this standard interpretation, however, it will be demonstrated that Descartes' hypotheses make a fairly convincing case for the existence of individual material substances; and the key to (...)
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  15.  10
    Edward Slowik, A Pre-History of Quantum Gravity: The Seventeenth Century Legacy and the Deep Metaphysics of Space Beyond Substantivalism and Relationism.
    This essay demonstrates the inadequacy of contemporary substantivalist and relationist interpretations of quantum gravity hypotheses via an historical investigation of the debate on the underlying ontology of space in the seventeenth century. Viewed in the proper context, there are crucial similarities between seventeenth century theories of space and contemporary work on the ontological foundations of spacetime theories, and these similarities challenge the utility of the substantival/relational dichotomy by revealing a host of underlying conceptual issues that do not naturally align with (...)
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  16.  24
    Edward Slowik (2004). Hume and the Perception of Spatial Magnitude. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (3):355 - 373.
    This paper investigates Hume's theory of the perception of spatial magnitude or size as developed in the _Treatise<D>, as well as its relation to his concepts of space and geometry. The central focus of the discussion is Hume's espousal of the 'composite' hypothesis, which holds that perceptions of spatial magnitude are composed of indivisible sensible points, such that the total magnitude of a visible figure is a derived by-product of its component parts. Overall, it will be argued that a straightforward (...)
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  17.  11
    Edward Slowik (1999). Descartes' Quantity of Motion: 'New Age' Holism Meets the Cartesian Conservation Principle. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (2):178–202.
    This essay explores various problematical aspects of Descartes' conservation principle for the quantity of motion (size times speed), particularly its largely neglected "dual role" as a measure of both durational motion and instantaneous "tendencies towards motion". Overall, an underlying non-local, or "holistic", element of quantity of motion (largely derived from his statics) will be revealed as central to a full understanding of the conservation principle's conceptual development and intended operation; and this insight can be of use in responding to some (...)
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  18.  12
    Edward Slowik (2015). The ‘Space’ at the Intersection of Platonism and Nominalism. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 46 (2):393-408.
    This essay explores the use of platonist and nominalist concepts, derived from the philosophy of mathematics and metaphysics, as a means of elucidating the debate on spacetime ontology and the spatial structures endorsed by scientific realists. Although the disputes associated with platonism and nominalism often mirror the complexities involved with substantivalism and relationism, it will be argued that a more refined three-part distinction among platonist/nominalist categories can nonetheless provide unique insights into the core assumptions that underlie spatial ontologies, but it (...)
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  19.  33
    Edward Slowik (2009). Another Go-Around on Leibniz and Rotation. The Leibniz Review 19:131-137.
    This essay comments on the complexity of the task of accommodating Leibniz’s account of relational motion with his dynamics, as evident in Anja Jauernig’s (2008) Leibniz Review article, and suggests some possible strategies for overcoming these obstacles.
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  20.  23
    Edward Slowik (1999). Descartes and Circular Inertia. Modern Schoolman 77 (1):1-11.
    This paper explores the Cartesian physics of circular motion, in particular, the long-standing puzzle concerning the possible role of a circular inertial concept in Descartes' theories. Although some commentators have claimed that Descartes' famous "rotating sling" examples favor a rotational component of "striving" towards motion, and that this aspect of his project constitutes a form of inertial thinking, it will be argued that a much stronger case for a Cartesian brand of rotational inertial motion can be constructed from a little-known (...)
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  21.  46
    Edward Slowik (2010). The Fate of Mathematical Place: Objectivity and the Theory of Lived-Space From Husserl to Casey. In Vesselin Petkov (ed.), Space, Time, and Spacetime. Springer-Verlag 291-312.
    This essay explores theories of place, or lived-space, as regards the role of objectivity and the problem of relativism. As will be argued, the neglect of mathematics and geometry by the lived-space theorists, which can be traced to the influence of the early phenomenologists, principally the later Husserl and Heidegger, has been a major contributing factor in the relativist dilemma that afflicts the lived-space movement. By incorporating various geometrical concepts within the analysis of place, it is demonstrated that the lived-space (...)
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  22.  24
    Edward Slowik (2002). Descartes' Forgotten Hypotheses on Motion. Journal of Philosophical Research 27:433-448.
    This essay explores two of the more neglected hypotheses that comprise, or supplement, Descartes’ relationalist doctrine of bodily motion. These criteria are of great importance, for they would appear to challenge Descartes’ principal judgment that motion is a purely reciprocal change of a body’s contiguous neighborhood. After critiquing the work of the few commentators who have previously examined these forgotten hypotheses, mainly, D. Garber and M. Gueroult, the overall strengths and weaknesses of Descartes’ supplementary criteria will be assessed. Overall, despite (...)
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  23.  19
    Edward Slowik (2007). The Structure of Musical Revolutions. Philosophy Now 59:9-11.
    This essay constructs a non-scientific analogy that can help to explain the nature and purpose of Kuhn's philosophical concepts, especially his notion of a scientific "paradigm". The non-scientific topic that is employed to achieve this result is the history of musical styles and the structure of musical compositions.
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  24.  10
    Edward Slowik (2010). Review of Michael Futch, Leibniz’s Metaphysics of Time and Space. [REVIEW] Metascience 19 (3):395-397.
    A review of Futch's book on Leibniz' natural philosophy of time and space.
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  25.  22
    Edward Slowik (1997). Plato's 'Mirror-Image' Theory of Particulars. Cogito 11 (3):199-205.
    As a means of overcoming the "Third Man" argument, several commentators have developed an influential theory of the relationship between Platonic Forms and particulars based on Plato's use of "image" analogies. This essay explores the viability of this "image-analogy" hypothesis and, in particular, examines an important, but neglected, argument advanced by R. E. Allen intent on establishing an ontological distinction between an image and its object-source.
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  26.  33
    Edward Slowik (2005). Natural Laws, Universals, and the Induction Problem. Philosophia 32 (1-4):241-251.
    This paper contends that some of the recent critical appraisals of universals theories of natural laws, namely, van Fraassen's analysis of Armstrong's probabilistic laws, are largely ineffective since they fail to disclose the incompatibility of universals and any realistic natural law setting. Rather, a more profitable line of criticism is developed that contests the universalists' claim to have resolved the induction problem (i.e., the separation of natural laws from mere accidental regularities), and thereby reveals the universals' philosophically inadequate concept of (...)
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  27.  9
    Edward Slowik (2003). Myth, Music, and Science: Teaching the Philosophy of Science Through the Use of Non-Scientific Examples. Science and Education 12 (3):289-302.
    This essay explores the benefits of utilizing non-scientific examples and analogies in teaching philosophy of science courses. These examples can help resolve two basic difficulties faced by most instructors, especially when teaching lower-level courses: first, they can prompt students to take an active interest in the class material, since the examples will involve aspects of the culture well-known, or at least more interesting, to the students; and second, these familiar, less-threatening examples will lessen the students' collective anxieties and open them (...)
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  28.  28
    Edward Slowik (1997). Huygens' Center-of-Mass Space-Time Reference Frame: Constructing a Cartesian Dynamics in the Wake of Newton's “de Gravitatione” Argument. Synthese 112 (2):247-269.
    This paper explores the possibility of constructing a Cartesian space-time that can resolve the dilemma posed by a famous argument from Newton's early essay, De gravitatione. In particular, Huygens' concept of a center-of-mass reference frame is utilized in an attempt to reconcile Descartes' relationalist theory of space and motion with both the Cartesian analysis of bodily impact and conservation law for quantity of motion. After presenting a modern formulation of a Cartesian space-time employing Huygens' frames, a series of Newtonian counter-replies (...)
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  29.  27
    Edward Slowik, Descartes' Physics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This is the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry for Descartes' physics.
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  30.  7
    Richard N. Manning & Edward Slowik (1998). Book Reviews. [REVIEW] Philosophia 26 (3-4):551-573.
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  31.  25
    Edward Slowik (2007). Review of Edward J. Khamara, Space, Time, and Theology in the Leibniz-Newton Controversy. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (1).
  32.  12
    Edward Slowik (1999). Moral and Scientific Explanation. Cogito 13 (1):39-44.
    This paper examines the status of explanation in the natural sciences and ethics by focusing on the important role of empirical evidence and theoretical properties. As a means of exploring these issues, the debate between Nicholas Sturgeon and Gilbert Harman will serve as a central point in the discussion, since Sturgeon has provided several arguments against Harman's attempt to draw a distinction between scientific and moral explanation. Specifically, Sturgeon holds that the special function of observation and testing, which we commonly (...)
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  33.  4
    Geoffrey A. Gorham & Edward Slowik (2012). Introduction to Special Issue on Seventeenth Century Absolute Space and Time. Intellectual History Review 22 (1):1-3.
  34.  15
    Justin Leiber, Valdir Ramalho & Edward Slowik (2001). Book Reviews. [REVIEW] Philosophia 28 (1-4):563-576.
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  35.  9
    Edward Slowik (2006). The “Dynamics” of Leibnizian Relationism: Reference Frames and Force in Leibniz's Plenum. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 37 (4):617-634.
    This paper explores various metaphysical aspects of Leibniz’s concepts of space, motion, and matter, with the intention of demonstrating how the distinctive role of force in Leibnizian physics can be used to develop a theory of relational motion using privileged reference frames. Although numerous problems will remain for a consistent Leibnizian relationist account, the version developed within our investigation will advance the work of previous commentators by more accurately reflecting the specific details of Leibniz’s own natural philosophy, especially his handling (...)
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  36.  8
    Edward Slowik (1996). Perfect Solidity: Natural Laws and the Problem of Matter in Descartes' Universe. History of Philosophy Quarterly 13 (2):187 - 204.
    In the Principles of Philosophy, Descartes attempts to explicate the well-known phenomena of varying bodily size through an appeal to the concept of "solidity," a notion that roughly corresponds to our present-day concept of density. Descartes' interest in these issues can be partially traced to the need to define clearly the role of matter in his natural laws, a problem particularly acute for the application of his conservation principle. Specifically, since Descartes insists that a body's "quantity of motion," defined as (...)
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  37.  9
    Edward Slowik (2010). Review of Kurt Smith, Matter Matters: Metaphysics and Methodology in the Early Modern Period. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (12).
  38.  8
    Edward Slowik (2001). Rouse-Ing Out the Legitimation Project: Scientific Practice and the Problem of Demarcation. Ratio 14 (2):171–184.
    This essay critically examines Joseph Rouse's arguments against, what he dubs, the "legitimation project", which are the attempts to delimit and justify the scientific enterprise by means of global, "a priori" principles. Stipulating that a more adequate picture of science can be obtained by viewing it as a continuously transforming pattern of situated activities, Rouse believes that only by refocusing attention upon the actual practice of science can philosophers begin to detach themselves from the irresolvable epistemological problems that have remained (...)
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  39.  7
    Edward Slowik (1999). In Praise of the Legitimation Project. Philosophia 27 (3-4):599-612.
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  40.  2
    Edward Slowik (2011). Review of Tad Schmaltz, Descartes on Causation. [REVIEW] Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 1 (1):165-169.
    A review of Tad Schmaltz' book on Descartes on causation.
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  41.  1
    Geoffrey A. Gorham & Edward Slowik (2012). Co-Editor and Introduction, Seventeenth Century Absolute Space and Time: Special Issue. Intellectual History Review 22.
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  42. Edward Slowik (2013). Leibniz and the Metaphysics of Motion. Journal of Early Modern Studies 2:56-77.
    This essay develops a interpretation of Leibniz’ theory of motion that strives to integrate his metaphysics of force with his doctrine of the equivalence of hypotheses, but which also supports a realist, as opposed to a fully idealist, interpretation of his natural philosophy. Overall, the modern approaches to Leibniz’ physics that rely on a fixed spacetime backdrop, classical mechanical constructions, or absolute speed, will be revealed as deficient, whereas a more adequate interpretation will be advanced that draws inspiration from an (...)
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  43. Edward S. Slowik (2011). Mechanics From Aristotle to Einstein. Annals of Science 68 (1):142-144.
  44. Edward Slowik (2015). Space and the Extension of Power in Leibniz’ Monadic Metaphysics. History of Philosophy Quarterly 32:253-270.
    This paper attempts to resolve the puzzle associated with the non-spatiality of monads by investigating the possibility that Leibniz employed a version of the extension of power doctrine, a Scholastic concept that explains the relationship between immaterial and material beings. As will be demonstrated, not only does the extension of power doctrine lead to a better understanding of Leibniz’ reasons for claiming that monads are non-spatial, but it also supports those interpretations of Leibniz’ metaphysics that accepts the real extension of (...)
     
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