Newton’s substance monism, distant action, and the nature of Newton’s empiricism: discussion of H. Kochiras “Gravity and Newton’s substance counting problem”

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (1):160-166 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

This paper is a critical response to Hylarie Kochiras’ “Gravity and Newton’s substance counting problem,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 40 267–280. First, the paper argues that Kochiras conflates substances and beings; it proceeds to show that Newton is a substance monist. The paper argues that on methodological grounds Newton has adequate resources to respond to the metaphysical problems diagnosed by Kochiras. Second, the paper argues against the claim that Newton is committed to two speculative doctrines attributed to him by Kochiras and earlier Andrew Janiak: i) the passivity of matter and ii) the principle of local causation. Third, the paper argues that while Kochiras’ arguments about Newton’s metaphysical commitments are mistaken, it qualifies the characterization of Newton as an extreme empiricist as defended by Howard Stein and Rob DiSalle. In particular, the paper shows that Newton’s empiricism was an intellectual and developmental achievement that built on non trivial speculative commitments about the nature of matter and space.Keywords: Newton; Substance; Action at a distance; Space; Matter; Empiricism

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,873

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2012-02-25

Downloads
147 (#130,593)

6 months
32 (#106,078)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Eric Schliesser
University of Amsterdam

References found in this work

Newton and the reality of force.Andrew Janiak - 2007 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (1):127-147.
Cotes’ Queries: Newton’s Empiricism and Conceptions of Matter.Zvi Biener & Chris Smeenk - 2012 - In Eric Schliesser & Andrew Janiak (eds.), Interpreting Newton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 105-137.
Atoms and the ‘analogy of nature’: Newton's third rule of philosophizing.J. E. McGuire - 1970 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 1 (1):3-58.
Coincidence of things of a kind.Peter Simons - 1985 - Mind 94 (373):70-75.

View all 11 references / Add more references