History Department
History Department

HPS Talk: “Kant’s Newtonian Conception of the Essence of Matter,” by Katherine Dunlop, University of Texas at Austin (History and Philosophy of Science Colloquium)

Fri, September 20, 2019 | Waggener Hall (WAG), 316

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM


In Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, his most important work on physical theory, Kant argues that attractive force is essential to matter. Several recent interpreters hold that this doctrine is intended to supply a metaphysical ground for physical laws. Against this trend, I defend Michael Friedman's reading of the passage, according to which Kant is making the point that gravity acts immediately at a distance. I compare Kant's discussion of the need to posit attractive force with Newton's argument in Book III of Principia Mathematica.

Katherine Dunlop is an Associate Professor in the UT Department of Philosophy. She works on early modern conceptions of mathematical and scientific knowledge.

This event is part of the History and Philosophy of Science weekly talk series.

Sponsored by: History and Philosophy of Science Colloquium

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