Descartes, Spacetime, and Relational Motion

Philosophy of Science 66 (1):117-139 (1999)
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This paper examines Descartes' problematic relational theory of motion, especially when viewed within the context of his dynamics, the Cartesian natural laws. The work of various commentators on Cartesian motion is also surveyed, with particular emphasis placed upon the recent important texts of Garber and Des Chene. In contrast to the methodology of most previous interpretations, however, this essay employs a modern "spacetime" approach to the problem. By this means, the role of dynamics in Descartes' theory, which has often been neglected in favor of kinematic factors, is shown to be central to finding a solution to the puzzle of Cartesian motion.


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Edward Slowik
Winona State University

Citations of this work

Descartes's Changing Mind.Peter K. Machamer - 2009 - Princeton University Press.
The “dynamics” of Leibnizian relationism: Reference frames and force in Leibniz's plenum.Edward Slowik - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 37 (4):617-634.
Material translations in the Cartesian brain.Nima Bassiri - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):244-255.

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