Why the parts of absolute space are immobile

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (3):391-407 (2008)
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Newton's arguments for the immobility of the parts of absolute space have been claimed to licence several proposals concerning his metaphysics. This paper clarifies Newton, first distinguishing two distinct arguments. Then, it demonstrates, contrary to Nerlich ([2005]), that Newton does not appeal to the identity of indiscernibles, but rather to a view about de re representation. Additionally, DiSalle ([1994]) claims that one argument shows Newton to be an anti-substantivalist. I agree that its premises imply a denial of a kind of substantivalism, but I show that they are inconsistent with Newton's core doctrine that not all motion is the relative motions of bodies, and so conclude that they are not part of his considered views on space. The Arguments The Identity Argument 2.1 Identity of indiscernibles for individuals 2.2 Identity of indiscernibles for worlds and states 2.3 Representation de re Kinematic Relationism Conclusion CiteULike    Connotea    Del.icio.us    What's this?



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Nick Huggett
University of Illinois, Chicago

Citations of this work

Newton, the Parts of Space, and the Holism of Spatial Ontology.Edward Slowik - 2011 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 1 (2):249-272.
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References found in this work

Four Dimensionalism.Theodore Sider - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (2):197-231.
Four Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time.Theodore Sider - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):642-647.
The Identity of Indiscernibles.Max Black - 1952 - Mind 61 (242):153-164.
Are Quantum Particles Objects?Simon Saunders - 2006 - Analysis 66 (1):52-63.
Substances and Space-Time: What Aristotle Would Have Said to Einstein.Tim Maudlin - 1990 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 21 (4):531-561.

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