Du Châtelet and Descartes on the Role of Hypothesis and Metaphysics in Science

In Eileen O’Neill & Marcy P. Lascano (eds.), Feminist History of Philosophy: The Recovery and Evaluation of Women’s Philosophical Thought. Springer, NM 87747, USA: Springer (2019)
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In this chapter, I examine similarities and divergences between Du Châtelet and Descartes on their endorsement of the use of hypotheses in science, using the work of Condillac to locate them in his scheme of systematizers. I conclude that, while Du Châtelet is still clearly a natural philosopher, as opposed to modern scientist, her conception of hypotheses is considerably more modern than is Descartes’, a difference that finds its roots in their divergence on the nature of first principles.



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Karen Detlefsen
University of Pennsylvania

Citations of this work

Émilie Du Châtelet on Illusions.Marcy P. Lascano - 2021 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 7 (1):1-19.

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References found in this work

Metaphysics and the new science.Gary Hatfield - 1990 - In David C. Lindberg & Robert S. Westman (eds.), Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution, ed. by and (Cambridge:). Cambridge University Press. pp. 93–166.
The Physical Theory of Leibniz.George Gale - 1970 - Studia Leibnitiana 2 (2):114 - 127.
Hypotheses.Desmond M. Clarke - 2011 - In Desmond M. Clarke & Catherine Wilson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Early Modern Europe. Oxford University Press.

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