"Cartesianism contra Attractionism: Morals from Malebranche and Fontenelle"
"Are Corpuscles Unobservable in Principle for Locke?"
Journal of the History of Philosophy (January 1992), 30(1):33-52.
Abstract from Philosopher's Index: "The title question is distinguished into two: (1) Did Locke 'believe' that corpuscles were unobservable in principle? (2) Is there some Lockean principle which dictates that corpuscles cannot possibly be observed? Both questions are answered in the negative. Regarding the first question, it is argued that a close examination of the text best supports the conclusion that, while Locke was pessimistic about the likelihood of people actually coming to observe corpuscles, he did think that in principle such observation was not impossible. In answering the second question, the extant arguments for in-principle unobservability are shown to rest on principles which are not Lockean, for they lead to radically unLockean conclusions. Locke's philosophy would be seriously undermined by the assumption of a principled divide between unobservable corpuscles on the one side and observable ordinary objects on the other. Fortunately, Locke is committed to no such division."
"Berkeley's Dynamical Instrumentalism."
PhD Dissertation, Princeton University, 1992.
Text of Abstract from UMI/Proquest
Review of Daniel Garber's Descartes' Metaphysical Physics. Review of Metaphysics (September 1993), 47(1):146-147.
Review of Robert G. Muehlmann's Berkeley's Ontology. Journal of the History of Philosophy (April 1994), 32(2):309-311.
"Berkeley's Case Against Realism about Dynamics."
In Robert G. Muehlmann, ed., Berkeley's Metaphysics :
Structural, Interpretive, and
Critical Essays, pp. 197-214. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University
This essay was the winner in the third annual Colin and Ailsa Turbayne International Berkeley Essay Prize Competition (1992).
Review of Vere Chappell, ed.,
The Cambridge Companion to Locke.
Philosophical Review (January 1996), 105(1):120-122.
Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0031-8108%28199601%29105%3A1%3C120%3A%3E2.0.CO%3B2-0
Text of review from JSTOR
"Locke's Newtonianism and Lockean Newtonianism."Perspectives
on Science: Historical, Philosophical, Social (Fall 1997),
"An early version of some of this material was read at the first conference for the History of the Philosophy of Science, at Roanoke, Virginia, in 1996."
" I explore Locke's complex attitude toward the natural philosophy of his day by focusing on (1) Locke's own treatment of Newton's theory of gravity, and (2) the presence of Lockean themes in defenses of Newtonian attraction/gravity by Maupertuis and other early Newtonians."
"The Status of Mechanism in Locke's Essay."
Philosophical Review (July 1998), 107(3):381-414.
Abstract from Philosopher's Index: "The paper addresses the question of the nature of Locke's philosophical allegiance to mechanism (or corpuscularianism) and offers a novel interpretation of his primary/secondary quality distinction. It is argued that Locke does not assume the truth of corpuscularianism and does not take it as a starting point for philosophizing. Rather, mechanism functions for Locke primarily as an illustration of two fundamentally metaphysical notions: real essence and primary quality. Corpuscularianism provides an example of what the primary qualities of bodies might be and what the real essences of bodies might be like. Moreover, because of it's naturalness, clarity, and explanatory potential, mechanism provides a uniquely good illustration, not just of these concepts, but also of Locke's conception of 'scientia'."
Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0031-8108%28199807%29107%3A3%3C381%3ATSOMIL%3E2.0.CO%3B2-G
Text of article from JSTOR
"Berkeley." In Robert L. Arrington, ed., A Companion to the Philosophers, pp. 169-174. Blackwell Companions to Philosophy, 16. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 1999.
Review of Elmar J. Kremer's Interpreting Arnauld. Journal of the History of Philosophy (April 1999), 37(12):367-368.
"The Uses of Mechanism: Corpuscularianism in Drafts A and B of Locke's Essay." In Christoph Lüthy, John Emery Murdoch, and William R. Newman, eds., Late Medieval and Early Modern Corpuscular Matter Theories. Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2001.
"Berkeley." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. URL: plato.stanford.edu
"Berkeley's Natural Philosophy and Philosophy of Science." In Kenneth Winkler, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Berkeley. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press.
Empiricism and Newtonianism: Locke, Berkeley, and the Decline of
"Empiricism and Newtonianism provides a philosophical analysis of the controversy over Newton's dynamics, in particular his theory of gravity, as it was played out in the early eighteenth century. This controversy was generated by the apparent conflict between strict mechanism and Newton's appeal to attraction in his Principia Mathematica. Strict mechanism, as established most notably by Descartes and Boyle, asserts that bodies possess a very limited number of qualities: size, shape, motion, and perhaps solidity. All other apparent qualities of bodies are held to be reducible to this very short list of primary qualities. Thus understood, bodies are fundamentally passive. Indeed, strict mechanism specifically maintains that bodies cannot be characterized as intrinsically possessing any active qualities. Now, what should count as an active quality was to some extent a disputed question, but minimally strict mechanism rules out attributing to bodies any ability to self-move, to cause new motion, to attract, to repel, or to act in any way at a distance. Newton's dynamics faced opposition and provoked foundational debate precisely because it was interpreted as supporting a dynamic conception of nature in conflict with the tenets of strict mechanism. The book focuses especially on those defenders of Newton who sought to sever the philosophical foundations that had been supplied for strict mechanism and so to eliminate grounds for criticizing Newtonian gravity. They did so primarily, not by straightforwardly arguing for a dynamic conception of nature, but rather by arguing for a separation between physics and metaphysics, and, in parallel, connecting scientific explanation to the establishment of regularity or law-likeness rather than to the identification of causes (both doctrines traditionally associated with twentieth-century positivism). It is this Newtonian strategy that lies at the heart of the book. Thus, one main aim of the book is to provide a philosophical understanding of a crucial moment in the history of modern western philosophy and science, a moment where physics and metaphysics are pushed apart. In the course of doing so, I accomplish the second main aim of the book, which is to provide an original account of the natural philosophy and philosophy of science of Locke and Berkeley. Treating Locke in this context reveals the limited nature of Locke's commitment to mechanism, and enables an understanding of his historical influence on Newtonianism. Here I shed some light on what Alexander Koyré has enigmatically described as the "curious mingling" of Newtonianism with Locke's philosophy in the eighteenth century. Placing Berkeley in this context permits a proper appreciation of both the strength of his instrumentalist philosophy of science and its status as a response to the contemporary Newtonian problem; Berkeley's De Motu, I argue, provides the early eighteenth century's most powerful and coherent case for separating physics from metaphysics and reconstruing scientific explanation."
"Occasionalism and Strict Mechanism: Malebranche, Berkeley, Fontenelle." In Christia Mercer and Eileen O'Neill, eds., The History of Early Modern Philosophy: Essays in Honor of Margaret Dauler Wilson.
Review of Peter Anstey's The Philosophy of Robert Boyle. British Journal for the History of Philosophy.
"Robert Boyle." In Steven Nadler, ed., Companion to Early Modern Philosophy. Malden, Mass. & Oxford: Blackwell.
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