Filozofski Vestnik 41 (3) (2021)

Isaac Newton affirms on several occasions that human understanding cannot reach the essence of bodies. The article seeks to answer the question of why we cannot reach their essence either through our reflection or our senses, which confines our cognition to their appearances. I argue that the answer to this problem lies in Newton’s theological voluntarism, which he fully developed for the first time and explicitly in relation to the problem of the nature of bodies in his manuscript De gravitatione. Newton’s God could create beings similar to bodies, which display all their actions and exhibit all their phenomena, and yet they would not be bodies in their essential and metaphysical constitution. Newton’s theological voluntarism has other important epistemological consequences, such as God’s ability to freely change the laws of nature according to his will.
Keywords Newton, inaccessible nature of the body, theological voluntarism, laws of nature
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.3986/fv.41.3.01
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,827
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Pieter van Musschenbroek on Laws of Nature.Steffen Ducheyne & Pieter Present - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Science 50 (4):637-656.
Animals Versus the Laws of Inertia.R. F. Hassing - 1992 - Review of Metaphysics 46 (1):29 - 61.
Written in the Flesh: Isaac Newton on the Mind–Body Relation.Liam Dempsey - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (3):420-441.
Newtonian Science, Miracles, and the Laws of Nature.Peter Harrison - 1995 - Journal of the History of Ideas 56 (4):531 - 553.
Laws in Physics.Mathias Frisch - 2014 - European Review 22:S33-S49.
Newtonian Idealism: Matter, Perception, and the Divine Will.Liam P. Dempsey - 2014 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (1):86-112.
Henry More’s “Spirit of Nature” and Newton’s Aether.Jacques Joseph - 2016 - Teorie Vědy / Theory of Science 38 (3):337-358.
Interpreting Newton: Critical Essays.Andrew Janiak & Eric Schliesser (eds.) - 2012 - Cambridge University Press.
The Theology of Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica : A Preliminary Survey.Stephen D. Snobelen - 2010 - Neue Zeitschrift für Systematicsche Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 52 (4):377-412.


Added to PP index

Total views
4 ( #1,224,321 of 2,432,721 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #170,020 of 2,432,721 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes