PhilSci Archive

Newtonian Emanation, Spinozism, Measurement, and the Baconian Origins of the Laws of Nature

Schliesser, Eric (2008) Newtonian Emanation, Spinozism, Measurement, and the Baconian Origins of the Laws of Nature. UNSPECIFIED.

[img] Microsoft Word (.doc)
Download (91Kb)

    Abstract

    This paper investigates what Newton could have meant in a now famous passage from De Gravitatione (hereafter “DeGrav”) that “space is as it were an emanative effect of God” (21). First I offer a careful examination of the four key passages within DeGrav that bear on this. I argue that the logic of Newton’s argument permits several interpretations (section I). Second I sketch four options: i) one approach associated with the Cambridge Platonist, Thomas More, recently investigated by Dana Jalobeanu and Ed Slowik; ii) one traditional neo-Platonic approach; iii) a necessitarian approach associated with Howard Stein’s interpretation, recently reaffirmed by Andrew Janiak; iv) an approach connected with Bacon’s efforts to reformulate a useful notion of form and laws of nature. Hitherto only the first and third options have received scholarly attention. I offer arguments to treat Newtonian emanation as a species of Baconian formal causation and in this way to combine some of the most attractive elements of the first three options (section II). Finally in Section III, I suggest that the recent scholarly focus on emanation has obscured the importance of Newton’s very interesting claims about existence and measurement in the same passage(s).


    Export/Citation:EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
    Social Networking:

    Item Type: Other
    Keywords: Newton, Bacon, Spinoza, emanation, formal causation, laws of nature, measurement
    Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
    General Issues > Laws of Nature
    General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
    Depositing User: Eric Schliesser
    Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2008
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:17
    Item ID: 4343
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/4343

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads