In Janiak Schliesser (ed.), Interpreting Newton (2012)

Lisa Downing
Ohio State University
Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis’ famous and influential Discours sur les différentes figures des astres, which represented the first public defense of attractionism in the Cartesian stronghold of the Paris Academy, sometimes suggests a metaphysically agnostic defense of gravity as simply a regularity. However, Maupertuis’ considered account in the essay, I argue, is much more subtle. I analyze Maupertuis’ position, showing how it is generated by an extended consideration of the possibility of attraction as an inherent property and fuelled by an understanding of Lockean skepticism about knowledge of real essences that is more nuanced perhaps even than Locke’s own.
Keywords Newton  Locke  gravity  Maupertuis
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Newton and Wolff: The Leibnizian Reaction to the Principia, 1716-1763.Marius Stan - 2012 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (3):459-481.
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