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All Alone in the Universe: Individuals in Descartes and Newton

Brading, Katherine A. and Jalobeanu, Dana (2002) All Alone in the Universe: Individuals in Descartes and Newton. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    In this paper we argue that the primary issue in Descartes� Principles of Philosophy, Part II, articles 1-40, is the problem of individuating bodies. We demonstrate that Descartes departs from the traditional quest for a principle of individuation, moving to a different strategy with the more modest aim of constructing bodies adequate to the needs of his cosmology. In doing this he meets with a series of difficulties, and this is precisely the challenge that Newton took up. We show that Descartes� questions and his strategy influenced not only Newton�s account of physical bodies, but also the structure of his mechanics.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: individuation Cartesian natural philosophy Newtonian mechanics
    Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
    Depositing User: Katherine A. Brading
    Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2002
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:10
    Item ID: 671
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/671

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