Authors
Lina Jansson
Nottingham University
Abstract
In this paper I argue that Newton’s stance on explanation in physics was enabled by his overall methodology and that it neither committed him to embrace action at a distance nor to set aside philosophical and metaphysical questions. Rather his methodology allowed him to embrace a non-causal, yet non-inferior, kind of explanation. I suggest that Newton holds that the theory developed in the Principia provides a genuine explanation, namely a law-based one, but that we also lack something explanatory, namely a causal account of the explanandum. Finally, I argue that examining what it takes to have law-based explanation in the face of agnosticism about the causal process makes it possible to recast the debate over action at a distance between Leibniz and Newton as empirically and methodologically motivated on both sides
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2013.08.002
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References found in this work BETA

Critique of Pure Reason.Immanuel Kant - 1991 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Blackwell. pp. 449-451.
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.David Hume - 1955 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press. pp. 112.
Discourse on Metaphysics.Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz - 2007 - In Aloysius Martinich, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Philosophy. Blackwell. pp. 81-84.

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